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Old 11-12-2008, 12:08 AM
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Default Communication (PG-13) [Chapter Seventeen Now Posted]

Hello again, everyone. What follows is my second Pokémon fanfic, which I began writing in late November of ’04. This is the story of the glalie Solonn Zgil-Al, a character from my previous fic, The Origin of Storms. While reading that story isn’t crucial to understanding this one, I’ll go ahead and suggest that you read it, as well, because why wouldn’t I? Heh heh heh…

The PG-13 rating is for violence, adult situations, mild language, and other things that are just not very cheerful. Discretion is advised.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokémon. Any resemblance or reference to any real persons, places, things, or ideas is purely coincidental and unintentional unless explicity stated otherwise by the author. Opinions and statements expressed in this story do not necessarily reflect those of the author. Views expressed by one or more members of any given species within the context of this story are not intended to represent the views of all members of that species within the context of this story or any other context. This story does not strictly or entirely adhere to any form of the established Pokémon canon.

Chapter 1 – Foreign Relations
Part 2 | Part 3
Chapter 2 – Carried Away
Part 2
Chapter 3 – The Deal
Part 2 | Part 3
Chapter 4 – Spell of the Spotlight
Part 2 | Part 3
Chapter 5 – Elements Embraced
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Chapter 6 – The Sought-For Matter
Part 2 | Part 3
Chapter 7 – Convergence
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Chapter 8 – Preclusion of Choice
Part 2 | Part 3
Chapter 9 – Anywhere but Here
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Chapter 10 – Deceiving Yesterday
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Chapter 11 – Heart of the City
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
Chapter 12 – Silence in the East
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Chapter 13 – The Serpent Denied
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Chapter 14 – Speak No Evil
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8
Chapter 15 – Strangers
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8
Chapter 16 – To Return
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Chapter 17 – Safe
Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Chapter 18 – ?????
Chapter 19 – ?????
Chapter 20 – ?????
Chapter 21 – ?????


Chapter 1 – Foreign Relations

In the depths of Shoal Cave, unknown to humanity at large and almost completely untouched by other species of pokémon, there was a place known by the snorunt and glalie who called it home as Virc-Dho. Here, in a cavern whose ice-covered surfaces glittered eerily in the glow given off by her eyes, a glalie by the name of Azvida Zgil-Al sat waiting.

Azvida was waiting for two things and in two separate ways. She was watching, staring intently at a round, black, featureless egg that was now beginning to shake slightly a couple of times each minute. She was also listening, waiting for the first sign of an approach that was none too quick in coming.

Invoking the power of her element, the glalie spontaneously generated a small heap of snow, which she arranged in a ring around the increasingly animated egg. She knew that the baby would be ravenous upon hatching, which would be soon—very soon. Already, the first, tiniest vocalizations were starting to emanate through the shell.

A grinding sound in the distance caught Azvida’s attention then. Its volume made her wince, not only out of physical discomfort but also concern over others hearing it. She had told him emphatically that he needed to make as inconspicuous an entrance as possible… but, as she reminded herself, the very nature of just what the approaching creature was surely made that especially difficult for him.

Keeping the egg at the edge of her vision, Azvida only partly turned toward him as he came to a stop in the shadows nearby. “Hello, Grosh.”

Grosh only grunted in response, his face looking almost ghostly in what little of Azvida’s cyan light touched it.

Azvida’s attention was quickly monopolized by the egg again as it gave an almighty lurch, rolling straight into the snow that had been piled in front of it. The glalie inhaled with a long, rattling hiss and held her breath, anxiously watching the event that was unfolding before her eyes. The egg gave one last rustle, accompanied by a series of particularly sharp squeaks from within its confines. Then, with a tiny crack, something small and very pointed broke through the shell. With something of a drilling motion, the tip of a cone-shaped head continued to emerge from the hole it had made, cracking it open wider and wider until finally the egg simply fell apart.

Amidst the broken eggshells, there now sat a tiny male snorunt. He tried to stand up, only to immediately fall right over. His conical body rolled pitifully as he attempted in vain to right himself.

Azvida could not suppress the gale of hissing laughter that came forth then out of sheer elation. She rose from the ground and descended upon the snorunt, picking him up very gently and carefully and then setting him upright once more.

Her son blinked up at her in curiosity for a moment. Then he noticed the fresh, powdery snow that surrounded him, and he became oblivious to all else.

Azvida grinned brightly at her new baby. She then looked into the shadows at her side. “Look, Grosh,” she said, her voice alight with pure wonder. “Look at your son. Isn’t he beautiful? Why don’t you come closer? Don’t you want to see him?”

The shadowed form of Grosh stirred in the darkness. His eyes turned their sight upon the newborn—then turned away. The rest of Grosh immediately followed.

“Grosh, wait!” Azvida called to him. But Grosh kept moving on, scattering many rocks and chunks of ice in his wake. Within seconds, he was gone, back into the shadows from whence he’d come—never to return, Azvida was certain.

The new mother sighed. “It’ll just be us, then,” she said as she set herself back down before her son. No surprise, she thought, yet nonetheless she could not deny the pang of disappointment that she felt at Grosh’s departure. “We’ll have to be everything for each other. But I know we can,” she said, hoping to sound reassuring.

Not that it mattered to the snorunt. He was too focused on the snow, which he was devouring voraciously. Once he’d eaten his fill, he discovered that he could also play in the snow, and he quickly became as engrossed in that activity as he’d been in the one before it.

Azvida smiled again. “Now, what to call you?” she wondered aloud. She thought about it for a little while, rejecting several potential candidates for her son’s name until one that felt right to her finally came to her mind.

“I know exactly the right name for you,” Azvida said triumphantly. “You shall be called Solonn.”

* * *

A little over seven years into his life, Solonn was deemed old enough to go up to the snowgrounds where he could meet and play with other children. But to get to the snowgrounds, one first had to make one’s way through a rather long series of tunnels, much to his displeasure. This was the farthest that he’d ever had to walk; it was proving to be rather tiring, not to mention quite slow compared to being carried in his mother’s jaws. But since he was getting too big for that, moving himself by the power of his own two feet was the mode of transportation with which he was now stuck.

That, combined with the fact that the tunnel through which he and his mother traveled looked practically the same through yard after yard, caused his patience to run out fairly quickly. “Are we there yet?” he finally asked, unable to keep himself from whining a bit as he did so.

“Almost,” Azvida answered, gliding along a few inches off the ground at less than half of her usual pace so as to let the snorunt’s tiny feet keep up with her. “I told you, you’ll know right away when we get there. It’s very different from this place and from every other place you’ve seen.”

Better be, Solonn thought rather grumpily.

Shortly thereafter, they arrived at last at the snowgrounds. Solonn saw at once that his mother had been right about this place—it was different. It was a huge, open space, nothing at all like the close confines of the winding tunnels and small caverns that made up the warren in which he lived.

What he found most remarkable about this place was not its size, however. Rather, it was the fact that the floor of this vast cavern was entirely blanketed in sparkling, white snow, just begging a snorunt to dive right in—which is precisely what Solonn did.

Azvida laughed. “Have fun with the other kids,” she said, her son poking his head out of the snow at her words. “I’ll be back soon.” With that, she turned and exited, leaving Solonn behind in the field of snow.

Solonn watched her leave, wishing that she would stay and wondering why she didn’t. He also wondered where those “other kids” of which his mother had spoken were. He didn’t see anyone else there…

POP! With absolutely no warning, something burst out of the snow, launching out right in front of his face.

“Aaah!” Solonn was scared right off of his feet. He tumbled over backwards and landed upside-down, his pointed head sticking in the snow, his short legs kicking uselessly.

He then heard a sound—laughter. Someone was laughing at him—and grabbing his feet. He screamed again as whoever it was started pulling on his legs, which was rather painful. His ambusher didn’t relent until Solonn was quite suddenly extracted from the snow and sent flying from his grasp, landing in the snow several feet away with a whumpf (and blessedly not landing on his head this time).

Solonn managed to right himself fairly quickly, and as he was doing so, he heard footsteps approaching him. He turned to face the sound and found another snorunt, one who came to a stop a short distance before him. It seemed that he was the one who’d given Solonn that scare.

Solonn’s eyes flashed in anger. He lunged at the other snorunt, snapping his teeth and missing him by only a fraction of an inch.

The other snorunt jumped backward away from Solonn, staring back in surprise for a moment. Then he burst out into laughter once more. The moment he did, though, Solonn looked as though he might try to bite him again, making him fall silent in a hurry. He backed up a bit farther and held out his hands as if to keep Solonn at bay.

“Hey! It’s okay!” the other snorunt said. “I didn’t mean to scare you… well, not that badly, anyway…”

Solonn hesitated, giving a frown of uncertainty.

“I’m sorry,” the other snorunt said earnestly. “It was just a joke.” He approached Solonn again, albeit a bit gingerly. “I’m Zilag. Who are you?”

Solonn hesitated a moment before answering. “…Solonn,” he said finally. “Are there any other kids here?” he then asked warily.

“Yeah. They’re hiding,” Zilag answered. “Come on out,” he called out, then added, “and don’t scare him!”

At Zilag’s call, twelve other snorunt popped up out of their hiding places beneath the snow. Solonn remained quite wary of them at first, but through the minutes that passed, they seemed to heed Zilag’s advice; no one attempted to frighten him or to otherwise make a joke at his expense. By the time his mother returned to take him home, Solonn had managed to shed his distrust and reluctance almost completely. As he departed the snowgrounds, he found himself looking forward to returning there.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 10-08-2012 at 11:32 PM. Reason: Updating chapter index.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Solonn was brought to the snowgrounds almost daily from that point onward. As the weeks went by, he and Zilag became very good friends. Every time Solonn returned to the snowgrounds, Zilag was there waiting for him.

On one day, Zilag gathered eight of his closest friends, including Solonn, to hear his announcement of how they were about to have the “best day ever”.

“I’ve found something so awesome that you’ll go crazy when you see it,” he said.

“And what’s that?” Solonn asked.

Zilag smirked. He rolled up a snowball, turned around, and chucked it with full force into the ground. The snow it struck crumbled away on impact, falling into the rather steep-looking, downward-slanting passageway that was now revealed. The other eight snorunt all drew closer to the hole in order to try and peer down into it, but they were all wary of getting too close to it.

“Right down there is a portal to another world,” Zilag said in a exaggeratedly grand tone.

“Yeah, right,” Reizirr sneered.

“It’s true!” Zilag insisted. He grabbed her and pushed her face toward the hole, eliciting a very sharp little shriek out of her. “All you have to do to see it is to just go through there.”

“No, thanks!” Reizirr squeaked as she managed to wriggle away from Zilag.

“You’re gonna miss out…” Zilag told her. He cast a glance about at each of the others, seeing a lot of uncertain faces looking back at him. Their clear trepidation did nothing to deter him from putting on a huge grin and going on to say, “Okay. Who wants to go first?”

The others all exchanged nervous glances. Then, in unison, they took a sizable step farther back from the hole.

“Oh, come on. It’s so cool, I promise… Sical, how about you?” Zilag suggested.

“No way,” she refused firmly.


Davron responded by shaking his head, insofar as a snorunt can do so.


Faroski just turned and left the small crowd, having decided that he’d be better off just watching the others from the opposite side of the cavern.

Zilag made a noise of frustration. Then he turned to Solonn, who was standing at his immediate left, and said, “I know you’d love it. So come on, go for it.”

“Uh…” Solonn began doubtfully.

“It’s just a little slide and then a little climb,” Zilag said with a slight air of impatience. “You’re not a wuss, are you?” he then added.

“What? No!” Solonn said. He peered down into the hole, wondering just how deep it really was. “I guess I could…”

“That’s the spirit!” Zilag said cheerfully, and then he shoved Solonn into the hole.

“Aaaaaah!” Solonn screamed as he found himself rushing down the slide. The tightly-packed snow coating its walls made the ride smoother than it might have been otherwise; by contrast, he was met with a rather rough landing at the bottom, smacking right into a stone wall.

Solonn pitched backward and fell to the floor, little lights exploding in his vision, his face smarting badly. After a few moments, he came back to his senses and became fully aware of his surroundings. He was in a very small chamber made of stone. Before and slightly above him, he saw a hole in the wall, one that was more than wide enough for him to enter.

Solonn stood and stared with uncertainty into the hole for several seconds, reluctant to enter it. He turned back around and looked back up the length of the snow chute… how in the world was someone supposed to get back up there? Zilag had neglected to explain that detail…

Sighing, Solonn turned back toward the hole in the wall—there seemed to be no other way to go. Resigned to the only course of action that was presenting itself to him, he hopped up, pulled himself into the hole, and started crawling upward.

The climb through the secret tunnel was not an experience that he found particularly pleasant. At a couple of points, it was very steep; Solonn feared that he could easily slip and go tumbling back down the tunnel. Furthermore, the rocky surfaces of the tunnel’s floor and walls were not at all comfortable for him to crawl over—one wrong move, and those jagged edges could slice right into a hand or foot, he knew.

Why, he wondered, had Zilag thought that anyone would like this?

Quite a while later, Solonn finally reached the end of the tunnel and gratefully hoisted himself out of there. Exhausted, he just lay still for a short time, glad to be on smooth, level ground again.

Once he’d caught his breath, he got back on his feet and took a look around. He was in a very large cavern which, just as Zilag had promised, was indeed like another world. For one thing, it was much brighter up here than it had been below. Solonn found the source of the illumination overhead: strange, pale light was seeping into the cavern from above, light that was quite strong despite how few of its pale rays managed to penetrate the cracks in the ceiling.

The terrain of this cavern was also quite strange in his eyes. As Solonn explored with growing curiosity, he found snow, ice and rocks—all of which he could find at home, of course. What struck him as unusual about the materials within this cavern was that they were just scattered about; rocky, uneven surfaces abruptly gave way to vast, shimmering expanses of smooth, ice-coated floors, and mounds of snow rose randomly over both types of surfaces. This contrasted considerably with the way things looked back from whence Solonn had come; there, in the warren, every aspect of the environment had been adapted and conformed by glalie to suit their tastes and purposes. Solonn wondered to what sort of people and purpose, if any, a place like this could possibly belong.

Right around the next hill of snow, he got his answer.

He didn’t move. He barely even breathed. The same was true of the creature that stared back at him through her dark-colored eyes.

Her appearance was more bizarre than anything Solonn could have ever imagined, especially with regards to the fact that there was a peculiar glow emanating from her entire body. Solonn found himself strangely mesmerized by it. He’d never seen anything like it; he didn’t have that glow, and neither did any of his friends. For that matter, neither did glalie.

“What… what are you?” Solonn finally worked up the courage to ask.

“What are you?” the creature countered.

Solonn was almost too bewildered to answer. This creature even sounded so different… “I’m a snorunt,” he said finally.

“Oh. Never heard of that… Anyway, I’m a spheal.”

“I’ve never heard of what you are, either,” Solonn said. As he stared at this creature—this spheal—his curiosity gave rise to a compulsion. “Can… can I touch you?” he asked.

“Uh… sure, I guess,” the spheal responded.

Solonn stepped forward, feeling quite nervous. His hand shook as it reached out to the spheal. When he touched her, he gasped and pulled his hand back at once, his eyes wide. She felt strange to him, and in a way that was rather startling.

“What? Is something wrong?” the spheal asked.

“No… it’s just that you’re so… ” Solonn trailed off and stared with both fear and wonder shining through his eyes as he realized that he knew no word for the way that the spheal felt. He had no way of knowing it, but he had just felt heat for the very first time. Though it hadn’t hurt him, it had definitely made him uneasy.

In spite of this, however, his curiosity led him to touch the spheal again, and he was not so startled by her warmth this time. Rather, something else caught his fascination.

“It’s… soft…” Solonn remarked, “and fluffy… What is this stuff you’re covered in?” he asked.

“Er… that’s fur,” the spheal answered, giving him a funny look.

“It’s neat,” Solonn said.

“Uh, sure it is… Hey, could you stop petting me already?” the spheal finally demanded.

“Oh… sorry,” Solonn said, quite embarrassed, and he took his hands off of the spheal in a hurry.

Just then, a voice sounded from not too far away—another strange, foreign voice. “Sophine? Where are you?”

Before Solonn could wonder about the voice’s owner, she came into view. Solonn didn’t know that it was a sealeo who had just arrived on the scene, but judging from the newcomer’s appearance, he was able to guess that she was an evolved spheal.

“There you are! You can’t keep wandering away from me like that!” she scolded lightly. Then her gaze fell upon Solonn, and it froze there. “Sophine, get away from that,” she said tensely. “Now. Those things are dangerous.”

“What? I’m not dangerous!” Solonn protested, stepping forward with his arms outstretched. “Honest!”

“You stay away from my daughter, you little monster!” the sealeo cried, and then she lunged suddenly at Solonn.

But just then, Sophine screamed, and the sound jarred her mother out of her charge. Her mother looked to see what had frightened Sophine, and then she cried out in fear, as well.

Confused, Solonn followed the others’ gazes. Now it was his turn to scream—hovering there with an absolutely livid expression was none other than his own mother.

“Leave him alone!” Azvida spat. With a furious hiss, she darted forward. Her massive teeth snapped together with bone-shattering force bare inches away from the face of Sophine’s mother.

The sealeo gave a yelping bark as she staggered frantically away from the striking glalie. She then gathered up her daughter in a single flipper and waddled off with her as fast as she could go.

Solonn watched them leave. Then, very nervously, he turned and approached his mother. She turned to face him in an instant, badly scaring him. Azvida then opened her jaws and grabbed Solonn up in her teeth by the top of his head. It caused him pain, making him cry out, but she did not put him down, carrying him in this fashion for the entire duration of the trip back home.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 07-28-2010 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

“For the love of all gods, what were you thinking?!” Azvida demanded.

It wasn’t my idea! Solonn thought but didn’t dare say, feeling as though doing such amounted to betraying Zilag, which he most certainly did not want to do. “…I don’t know!” he blurted finally.

“Well, you’re not going up there again, that’s for sure,” Azvida said, her tone one of strong displeasure. “In fact, you’re not going to be going anywhere for a long time, not even to the snowgrounds.”

“But… Mom, no! You can’t!” Solonn protested. Surely she had to be bluffing, he figured, or at least hoped.

“Oh, yes I can, and yes I will! It’s for your own good, Solonn. You have to learn that there are places where you don’t belong, places that are not safe!”

“Not safe?” Apart from the behavior of the sealeo he’d met there, the cavern above into which he had ventured hadn’t seemed terribly dangerous, just rather strange…

Azvida lowered her face, her eyes seeming to burn right through Solonn’s. “You think you’re the first who’s ever gone sneaking around up there? There have been plenty of kids before you who’ve had that bright idea. And you know what? Many of them never came back.”

“…What happened to them?” Solonn asked in a very small voice, though he wasn’t altogether certain that he really wanted to know.

“They vanished,” Azvida replied simply. “Taken away by the creatures from above, we suspect,” she elaborated.

“You mean the spheal? Spheal took them?” Solonn asked incredulously.

Azvida shook her head. “Other beings. Stranger beings.”

What could be stranger than a spheal? Solonn wondered, finding himself rather amazed by the notion. He wondered about something else as well. “Mom?”


“That spheal’s mom… she called me a monster,” Solonn said quietly. “She said I’m dangerous, but I’m not dangerous at all… am I?”

“What? No, of course you’re not!” Azvida said. “And you’re not a monster, either!”

“But… then why would she say that?” Solonn asked.

Azvida sighed. “It’s all right, Solonn. She meant nothing against you personally. It’s just that… well, her kind fear ours. They always have.” She sighed again. “To be fair, they do have a perfectly good reason to.”

“Well… what is it?” Solonn asked, a little afraid of the sort of answer he might receive.

Azvida broke eye contact with Solonn. This was not a discussion she’d been in any hurry to have with him—she’d dreaded it as much as the eventual discussion of where eggs came from.

Reluctantly, she sat down beside him. “There are certain things that every living creature must do to stay alive,” she began uneasily. “We have to breathe. We have to sleep. We have to eat. When living creatures are different, the ways that they keep themselves alive are different, as well. The spheal and their evolved forms, the sealeo and walrein, are different from us, and so they have their own ways that are right for them. Likewise, glalie are different from snorunt. And we have our own ways.

“Now, one of the ways that living creatures can have different needs is that for some creatures, like snorunt, the things they need to eat in order to live are not alive themselves. But for others… like glalie… well, the things that creatures like us need to eat in order to live are alive.”

Solonn absorbed that. Then his heart froze. “You… you eat the spheal?” he ventured in disbelief, his voice cracking.

“Yes,” Azvida answered honestly, “sometimes. But not usually. Usually, we take the winged creatures instead; zubat, they’re called.”

“It doesn’t matter what they are. You still kill them!” Solonn shouted.

“Yes,” Azvida said, feeling and sounding very flustered. “Yes, we do, but we do it quickly. We do it gently. It doesn’t hurt them. They just… they just stop. It’s just like going to sleep, only permanently.”

How can you know that?!” Solonn shrieked. Azvida did not answer. Solonn said nothing more for several minutes, just sitting and shaking silently. Then, with barely any voice at all, he asked, “Why can’t you just eat the snow? Why?”

“It’s just not enough for us, Solonn,” Azvida said quietly. “Someday, once you’ve evolved, you’ll understand.”

“No, I don’t want to! I don’t want to grow up and eat people!”

“Listen, I know how it sounds, but there really isn’t anything wrong with it!” Azvida tried to assure him. “It’s just part of how nature works. And a lot of creatures live this way, too, not just glalie. Even the spheal you met and her people; they feed on creatures called magikarp…”

But Solonn was not listening anymore, and Azvida knew it. She sighed and spoke no more, and neither of them said anything to one another for the remainder of that day.

* * *

After the long weeks separating Solonn from the snowgrounds were finally behind him, he returned there to find Zilag just sitting there alone.

Solonn was immediately wary. “Where is everyone hiding?”

“There’s no one else here,” Zilag said gloomily.

Solonn walked over to him, frowning. “You got me into huge trouble, you know,” he said.

“Hey, I didn’t get away with it, either!” Zilag shot back.

“Well, I didn’t tell on you!” Solonn insisted. “I swear!”

“You didn’t have to,” Zilag said grimly. “My big sister came in and saw me trying to get Dileras to go down that hole. She went straight home and told Mom everything.” He sighed. “And then, everyone else’s parents found out, too. Now no one wants to hang out with me cause they’re all scared of getting into trouble again.”

“Oh…” Solonn sat down beside Zilag. “Well, I’m not worried about that,” he said, although a small part of him really was. “I’ll still hang out with you.”

Zilag’s eyes widened, and he broke out into a huge grin. “Really? Thanks!”

It was then that a strange sound caught the attention of both snorunt: a sort of fluttering noise coming from above. Zilag and Solonn looked up and saw its source flying about overhead. It was yet another creature that shone with that strange glow—the glow of heat, Solonn now knew.

“A zubat,” Solonn guessed aloud in a hushed voice as he gazed up at the newcomer. “What’s that doing here?”

“I don’t know… I’ve never even seen one of those before,” Zilag said.

“I bet your parents have,” Solonn said darkly. “My mom told me that the glalie eat those things.”

Zilag turned to face Solonn at those words and stared incredulously at him for a moment. Then he broke into laughter. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! They do not!”

“Oh, yes they do,” Solonn said as he continued to watch the zubat flit around, seemingly without direction, near the ceiling of the cavern.

“No way!” Zilag said, still laughing. “I know! Let’s ask the zubat if it’s true! HEY, ZUBAT!” he shouted.

The zubat steadfastly ignored the snorunt below, just wanting to focus on getting out of that place. It was bad enough that she’d gotten herself lost there—she didn’t want to add to her troubles by getting herself mixed up with the locals.

“The zubat’s not listening, Zilag,” Solonn pointed out.

“Well, maybe this’ll get that thing to listen.” Zilag made a snowball and chucked it into the air, but missed the zubat entirely. His second shot missed, too. “Come on, hold still!” he urged his target, throwing a third snowball. That one very nearly didn’t miss, whizzing past the zubat’s face just a hair’s breadth away.

The zubat shrieked, then turned on Zilag. Chittering angrily, she fired a spiraling, sparkling confuse ray at him. It struck him before he could do anything to avoid it and instantly and severely disoriented him, leaving him staggering around and screaming intermittently in a spontaneous panic.

“What did you do to him?!” Solonn demanded of the zubat, both scared and angry. The bat’s response was a wing attack, forcing Solonn to duck in a hurry to avoid her as she dove at him, her wings glowing.

As the zubat arced back up toward the ceiling, Solonn got back up onto his feet, gathered a number of snowballs as fast as he could, and began throwing them at the zubat, but to no avail. He soon had to abandon his assault as the zubat wheeled around for another wing attack; he only barely ducked out of the way in time.

At this point, Solonn decided to give up on the snowballs. He began to gather ice-type energy… then lost hold of it as Zilag, who was still confused, came stumbling right into him and nearly knocked him over.

“Hey!” Solonn shouted as he got himself out of the way of his brain-addled friend. He tapped into the power of his element once again, and this time he managed to summon a powder snow attack. It scattered snowflakes all about as it whistled toward the zubat on a small gust—but before it could connect, a similar but much stronger attack, a blizzard, came howling in and blew the powder snow completely off course.

The blizzard was the work of Azvida, who had apparently just arrived and was clearly most displeased. “Solonn Ahshi Zgil-Al!” she shouted thunderously. “You stop picking on that poor zubat right this instant; she’s obviously lost here and needs help, not harassment!”

Azvida’s shouting brought Zilag back to his senses. “Ahshi?” He exploded into giggles. Both Azvida and Solonn glared potently at him—he shut up at once.

“But Mom, she did something to Zilag! She made him freak out—I couldn’t just let her get away with it!” Solonn said. “And what do you care what anybody does to her, anyway? She’s just meat to you!”

Azvida’s eyes widened greatly, and their light intensified dramatically. “How dare you say such a thing!” she hissed, appalled. “I would never think of such a creature as ‘just meat’. They give us life, and so they’re to be honored and respected!”

To the zubat, Azvida then said, “You’ll certainly die from the cold if you stay here much longer. If you’ll follow me, I’ll lead you back to where you belong.”

The zubat made no response, no sound at all other than the faint flapping of her wings as she hovered warily in place.

“It’s all right,” Azvida said, trying to sound as pleasant and soothing as possible. “I won’t even touch you.”

The zubat hesitated at first, then flapped a short distance forward. She hesitated again, for longer this time. Finally, though still obviously very uncertain about the whole thing, she descended and began to follow Azvida out of the cavern, though not too closely.

“Please stay put until I return,” Azvida instructed her son as she left. “Please.” She and the zubat then vanished into the tunnels of the warren.

As Solonn watched them leave, he found that he was no longer sure whether it was other species or his own that he found more peculiar.


Next time: Solonn discovers something peculiar and faces the horrors of the Most Annoying Person Ever and the Sister from Hell! See you next time!

- Sike Saner

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The Origin of Storms

Last edited by Sike Saner; 10-19-2011 at 08:40 PM. Reason: Revisions.
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Chapter 2 – Carried Away

The sound of footsteps echoed through the tunnel as Solonn walked along the route that led to the snowgrounds, and he walked alone. At the age of nineteen, he was old enough to go there unaccompanied and had been for several years.

Solonn usually didn’t run into anyone when traveling to the snowgrounds, and this trip was shaping up to be yet another of the majority. He heard no steps other than his own, and the level of the blue eye-light shining on the ice-covered surfaces that surrounded him stayed constant and low. There was nothing to indicate anyone of any other kind around, either.

With not terribly much farther to go to reach his destination, Solonn took to wondering who might already be there. He also wondered if today’s activities would include sparring and found himself hoping rather quickly that they wouldn’t. He had battled on not only the previous day but on the day before that, as well; he wanted something different for today’s trip to the snowgrounds.

Then, abruptly, he ceased to care about the other snorunt’s plans—or anything else, for that matter. The light in the tunnel cut out altogether, and the footsteps stopped and gave way to the sound of their now insensible maker falling to the floor.

* * *

The next sight to greet Solonn’s eyes left him fairly confused in short order. The space surrounding him was significantly wider but also much less empty—a crowd of glalie now surrounded him. No sooner had his eyes opened than a great rush of murmurs rose up around him.

“Oh, thank the gods, he’s awake!” said a voice that he recognized as Azvida’s, which just managed to rise above the din. “It’s all right now, Solonn,” she then told her son, responding to the growing bewilderment in his eyes. “You’re home again.”

“Huh?” Solonn sat up, trying to finish awakening his senses quickly. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“We found you here this morning. You were unconscious for a while; you’ve only just awakened,” answered an elderly male glalie whom Solonn didn’t know. At the sound of his voice, the crowd ceased its murmuring.

“Solonn, this is Sile Van-Kil,” Azvida said, introducing the glalie who had just spoken. “He’s with the Security Guild. Don’t worry, you’re not in any trouble with them,” she added quickly, seeing the troubled look that flitted across her son’s face. “He just wants to ask you some questions.”

“That’s right,” Sile said. “First, we’d like to know if you left the warren of your own accord, or if you were taken involuntarily.”

Solonn’s eyes widened. “…What? I didn’t leave the warren!” he said, growing even more confused. He hadn’t set foot outside of Virc-Dho’s borders even once since that day roughly twelve years prior when he’d encountered Sophine and her mother—or, at least, he couldn’t recall having gone out there since… What in the world is going on here? he wondered, very unnerved by the whole situation.

“You did leave, Mr. Zgil-Al,” Sile said, his tone considerably sterner than before. “You were gone for nearly fifteen days.”

Solonn was now becoming less confused and more afraid. Part of his life was missing from his mind, and it wasn’t exactly a small part… “I… I don’t remember going out there, though, sir,” he insisted. “Last thing I remember, I was on my way to the snowgrounds…”

“You’re certain that you have no memory of where you went or whom or what you might have encountered?” Sile asked.

“Yes, sir, I’m certain,” Solonn answered, his worry ringing clearly through his voice. “It’s… it’s like nothing happened at all.”

“Well, I’m afraid something did happen,” Sile said, his tone softening with what sounded like pity. “As for what… well, we can’t be certain, but one possibility is that your missing time is the result of a deliberate act of memory erasure. That, in turn, could be evidence of abduction by unknown psychic pokémon.” At these words, murmurs rose in a fresh wave throughout the attendants.

“But why? What would any such creatures want with him?” Azvida asked.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Sile replied. “Needless to say, this means that we shall all have to live with increased vigilance. We must keep our eyes open for anything strange. Mr. Zgil-Al is safely among us again, but the next victim may not be so fortunate…”

“Well, whoever and whatever it was that took him, they’d better not show themselves around me. Not if they want to avoid pain, anyway,” Azvida said with a flash of her eyes. She smiled weakly at Solonn. “I’m just so glad you got back safely. You had me worried half to death!”

Solonn might have been glad to be back, too. The only problem was that the hole in his mind that served as his only souvenir of the reason why he should be glad to be back was troubling him too much to allow him that kind of relief. Guess it’s my turn to be worried half to death, he thought dismally as the crowd dissipated and he and his mother headed for home.

* * *

Weeks passed before Azvida seemed to feel certain enough of her son’s safety to let him set foot outside of their residence again. Once she had, however, Solonn quickly came to wish that she hadn’t. It seemed that there was not a single person whom Solonn could run into who didn’t try to ask him a battery of questions about his disappearance. He had no answers for them regarding that topic, and at first he was able to explain that to them in a calm and patient manner. However, it quickly became clear that they wouldn’t accept that answer. They continued to hound him about the matter, and it wasn’t long before he lost patience for their persistent interrogations.

As a result, he took to spending as much time alone as he could. He visited the snowgrounds only when he was absolutely sure that no one else was there (he had long ago learned how to detect snorunt trying to hide in the snow) and hence not very often. Thus, for a time at least, he was able to successfully avoid others and their questions both in the snowgrounds and everywhere else.

It was not a snorunt or a glalie who ultimately broke his solitude. Rather, it was a zubat, one who came fluttering unexpectedly into the snowgrounds one day. It wasn’t the same one whom Solonn had seen all those years ago, however; this one was noticeably smaller. This zubat did seem to have something in common with the previous one, though: he looked lost—very lost, in fact, and very anxious about it.

Solonn watched as the zubat flapped about in frantic figure-eights overhead. The flying creature appeared not to notice the snorunt below at all and talked continuously to himself about how scared he was, how he didn’t know where he was, and how he didn’t know what to do—Solonn half expected the poor thing to pass out and fall to the snow below from not pausing to take a breath.

When Solonn thought he could get a word in edgewise between the zubat’s chitterings, he called up to him. “Hey!” he shouted. “Do you need help?”

The zubat gave a startled squeak. The next second, he plummeted from the air without any warning, diving right into the snorunt’s face—Solonn braced himself for a wing attack or something equally unpleasant, but the zubat thankfully didn’t attack him. Instead, he merely asked, in a thoroughly neurotic-sounding voice, “Where am I?!”

Solonn winced at the high volume and equally high pitch at which the zubat had chosen to speak. “You’re where you don’t belong,” he then answered, which immediately earned a shriek of terror from the zubat. “Relax! I can take you to someone who knows the way out of here.”


“Yes, really,” Solonn said a bit wearily, already fairly exasperated by the zubat. “Now, come on!”

If the zubat had possessed eyes, they might have been sparkling. “Oh, thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you—”

“Are you coming along or not?” Solonn interrupted suddenly in order to make the zubat shut up. He turned and started walking away.

“Oh yes, yes, right,” the zubat said hastily, fluttering after Solonn in a hurry.

As Solonn made his way through the warren, he tried very hard to ignore the person following him. This zubat was nothing at all like the last one he’d encountered; true, that one had been rather hostile, but at least she had also been relatively quiet. This zubat’s mouth, on the other hand, was in near-constant motion.

“Wow! This place is so weird!” the bat chittered, rattling on and on. “But it’s still pretty cool, though! Super cool! …And super cold. Brrr! I don’t like the cold. No, I sure don’t like it. Of course, for that matter, I don’t really like the sun, either… But that’s okay, cause I still like you! And that’s cause you’re helping me get out of here! What a pal!” he squealed.

Solonn cringed. Great, you’ve inflicted a “pal” on yourself, he thought. He reminded himself that he was doing the right thing by aiding this creature… or rather, he tried to remind himself of that, but the zubat’s voice seemed to be trying its hardest to destroy his mind.

The zubat then got right in his face—again. “Name’s Zyrzir, by the way,” the zubat said.

Solonn knew that already. Zyrzir had already introduced himself six times since leaving the snowgrounds.

“So, what’s your name? Huh? Huh? Huh?” Zyrzir asked as he resumed following behind the snorunt.

“Mr. Deadbat,” Solonn said, utterly deadpan.

“Hey… that’s not what you said last time!” Zyrzir said with a frown. “Last time, you said your name was Mr. Bitey! The time before that, you said your name was Mr. Snowball! And all the times before that, you didn’t say anything at all, as if you didn’t have a name, and that was your answer! Why won’t you just please cooperate and tell me what your real name is, huh?” Zyrzir whined.

Because you are annoying me to death, and I am trying to ignore you so my brain doesn’t explode! Solonn thought.

But then Zyrzir laid down his ultimatum. “I won’t stop asking until you tell me the truth.”

The snorunt produced a sound halfway between a groan and a sigh. “Ugh, fine. My name is Solonn. Satisfied?”

“Oh yes, yes, yes! Thanks a thousand, Mr. Satisfied!” Zyrzir squeaked joyfully, at which Solonn groaned very loudly. “Oh, by the way, are we almost where we’re supposed to be going? Are we? Are we? Are we?” the zubat then asked.

“Yes, we are, luckily for you.” And even more luckily for me, Solonn added silently. Sure enough, they soon reached the Zgil-Al residence, where they were greeted almost immediately by Azvida.

“Oh good,” she said. “I was hoping you’d get back soon. Zilag was here looking for you. He just left not too long ago. I told him he could come back here after a little while.”

Solonn started to turn to leave at once.

“No, you don’t,” Azvida said. She shifted the ice on the walls to form a barrier in front of Solonn. “Now, I don’t know what’s going on between you two, but I think it’s time you sorted it out. And you’re not leaving until you do just that.”

Solonn grudgingly started toward his room, but was obstructed once again, this time by his mother’s face.

“And might I ask why you’ve brought a zubat here?” she asked.

“He needs out,” Solonn said.

“Fine, then. I’ll deal with that, and you’ll stay here and wait for Zilag,” Azvida said. “And I mean it, stay here. I’ll know if you don’t.” With that, she left, leading Zyrzir away with her.

And just how would she know if I left? Solonn wondered, but he decided not to chance it. He went to his room, and for several minutes he just sat there with nothing to do but dread Zilag’s visit. He wished that he could devise some means of distracting himself from that inevitability, but when he tried to think of a way to occupy himself, he found that he couldn’t come up with anything at all.

The reason for his inability to conceive an idea was that the memory of Zyrzir’s voice was, for some reason, now infesting his brain. It was leaving no room whatsoever for any other thought processes to take place. Solonn tried to displace that memory, but it remained firmly stuck in his head. He groaned in aggravation, muttering a venomous string of curses on the name of the zubat who was inexplicably continuing to torment him even after departing his company.

“Why couldn’t he just shut up?” he wondered aloud. “Gods, it was nonstop: ‘Are we there yet? Brrr, it’s cold! You’re my friend!’”

Solonn abruptly shut his mouth in surprise. That impression of Zyrzir’s voice had been eerily close to the real thing… Feeling a giddy little spark of wonder, he tried it out again. “Hi, I’m Zyrzir! And I’m… so… annoying!”

Dead on! he congratulated himself silently, bursting into laughter. It was then that the iron grip of the Zyrzir-voice on his brain finally relented and an idea occurred to him: perhaps now he could provide something for people to talk about that they just might find more interesting than his recent abduction…

Grinning in anticipation, Solonn put on the Zyrzir-voice once more. “Wait’ll Zilag hears this!”

* * *

In time, Azvida returned, checking at once to see if her son was still home. Shortly thereafter, Zilag arrived. Azvida showed him to Solonn’s room right away, then left the two snorunt alone.

“Uh…” Zilag started somewhat warily as he stood several paces behind Solonn, who had his back turned toward him.

Solonn turned very slightly to acknowledge Zilag, wearing an unreadable expression.

“Yeah, hi,” Zilag said awkwardly, sounding a bit troubled. “I just… you know, wanted to make sure that you’re okay.”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Solonn asked nonchalantly.

“Well… since that thing that happened—”

“I really don’t want to talk about that, Zilag,” Solonn interrupted flatly. “I can’t anyway—I said I don’t remember anything about that, and that’s the truth.”

“I know! I believe you!” Zilag said.

“And what about the others?” Solonn asked. “Have they finally got it through their heads yet?”

“I told them to quit bugging you about that. I figured out that that was why you’ve been avoiding everybody.”

“And you’re sure they’ll really listen to you, too?” Solonn asked, wearing a skeptical look on his face.

“Well, even if they won’t listen to me, I bet they’d listen to you. You’re taller than any of us,” Zilag pointed out.

“Not by that much,” Solonn said, rolling his eyes. “And I am not going to start pushing people around just because I’m bigger than them,” he said firmly, sounding slightly offended.

“That’s not exactly what I meant… ” Zilag said—although it was almost what he meant. “Look, I just want you to be able to go out without having to worry about being harassed,” he said earnestly, “and I promise I’ll do whatever I can to keep people off your back about—well, you know what.”

Solonn turned around completely to face Zilag. Smiling, he said, “Thanks. I appreciate that.”

“No problem,” Zilag said coolly. “So… feel like hitting the snowgrounds and letting everybody know you’re still alive?”

“Well…” Solonn began. Then, he smiled craftily. Time to bring out the secret weapon… “Sure, why not?” he said perkily in his impression of Zyrzir’s voice.

Zilag stood completely still and silent for a moment as if petrified, his mouth agape as he stared like an idiot. “…What was that?” he finally asked, sounding almost as if he were a bit scared to find out.

“That,” Solonn said slyly, “was the voice of a zubat.”

Zilag continued staring stupidly for a moment. Then he unleashed a massive, squealing laugh, the volume of which brought a clearly alarmed and confused Azvida rushing onto the scene in very short order.

“What in the gods’ names is going on in here?” she demanded in a bewildered-sounding voice.

“I’m sorry,” Zilag said, gasping a bit. He gestured toward Solonn. “It’s just him; he’s doing something funny. Do that zubat voice again!” he then requested of Solonn.

“Zubat voice?” Azvida asked, casting a puzzled look at her son.

Solonn hesitated, not sure of how his mother would react to his impression; perhaps this sort of thing fell under the category of disrespecting the “sacred prey”. Finally, he reckoned that she probably wouldn’t take it that seriously—it was just a silly little impression, after all.

Proceeding with his performance, “Hi, I’m Zyrzir! My voice causes brain damage!” he chittered cheerfully.

Azvida’s eyes went huge. Then she cracked up almost as badly as Zilag had done. “Oh gods,” she managed to say between rasping giggles, “that sounds exactly like him! I’d thought I’d never hear that horrid voice again!”

“Isn’t it just awful?” Solonn said, keeping the zubat voice.

“Oh yes,” Azvida agreed. “Gods, I think I’d better leave before I die laughing…”

Out she went, leaving Solonn to stare at Zilag, who was caught up in a fit of giggles. “Uh… are you okay?” he asked, stowing the zubat voice.

“Yeah,” Zilag replied, albeit voicelessly. As soon as he managed to catch his breath again, he said, “You have got to go and do that at the snowgrounds. I bet everyone’ll be there if we go now.”

“Okay, then,” Solonn said, smiling. “Let’s go.”

The two of them passed by Azvida as they headed out. “Guess you’re going to go show off to everyone you can, aren’t you?” Azvida teased Solonn.

“Guess so,” Solonn admitted as he and Zilag exited the Zgil-Al residence.

Azvida was glad to see that Solonn was up for social interaction again, especially given the way that he’d found to go about it. She grinned and chuckled to herself as she thought about Solonn’s zubat impression again, feeling both amused by her son and proud of him. In addition to finding the impression funny—Zyrzir’s was the single most ridiculous voice and manner of speaking that she had ever heard, after all—she also thought that it was uncannily, even disturbingly accurate.

How does he do that? she wondered. Solonn’s zubat impression was so accurate that it was as if he wasn’t just using the zubat’s voice, but also—

Azvida stopped laughing, quite astounded, as she realized that indeed her son wasn’t merely using the voice of a zubat. He was using the language of one, as well.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 10-18-2011 at 09:48 PM. Reason: Revisions.
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Once Solonn and Zilag arrived at the snowgrounds, Solonn produced the zubat impression yet again. It proved to be quite the hit with the crowd of snorunt who were gathered there.

“That was so cool!” Reizirr squealed.

“Yeah,” Davron agreed. “Hey, let’s see if I can do it!” Davron’s attempt at a zubat impression didn’t sound like anyone or anything other than Davron, however. “Aw, crap…”

“Just keep trying,” Solonn said, and using the zubat voice in demonstration, added, “Like this, see?”

“Wow, that’s so impressive,” said a sarcastic voice, one not belonging to a snorunt. Everyone in attendance turned toward its source. There, at the entrance to the snowgrounds, lingered a smirking glalie.

“Kashisha, go away!” Zilag urged. Kashisha was his older sister—though he wished that she weren’t.

Ignoring her brother entirely, Kashisha advanced into the room, shoving aside any snorunt unfortunate enough to be in her path. “Seriously, I thought there was an actual zubat in here,” she went on, “but it turns out to be just a bunch of snow-twerps. Shame, really… I was looking forward to biting its wings off…”

She stopped in front of Solonn. “You’re the one responsible for that little trick?” she asked.

Solonn remained utterly silent and still, wary of interacting with Kashisha in any way.

“Better answer her,” Zilag said. “She’s evil incarnate.”

“Why, thank you for the compliment, dear brother,” Kashisha said in a sugary tone, getting in Zilag’s face very suddenly; with a tiny squeak of fright, he dove right into hiding under the snow. Then she got in Solonn’s face. “Well?”

“Yes,” Solonn confirmed in a small voice.

“Oh, I’m sorry, what was that? I didn’t hear you…” Kashisha said melodiously.

“I said yes! It was me!” Solonn shouted hastily.

Kashisha backed off slightly—very slightly. “Well, then. I guess that makes you pretty cool—for a stupid kid, anyway,” she said.

Stupid kid? Solonn thought indignantly. You’re barely any older than I am! Which was true; Kashisha was only twenty-one months his senior, and just a year older than her brother. However, she, like all of her friends, had chosen to evolve early (six years ago, in her case), and like them, she treated those who waited until reaching a respectable age to evolve like dirt.

“I have a request for you, zubat-boy,” Kashisha said then. “Let’s hear… a spheal. Can you do that? Or is that too hard for the little baby?”

The distinct feeling that Solonn got from Kashisha was that he’d better deliver. He tried hard to remember the way that Sophine had sounded. All of a sudden, the memory of that voice flooded his mind, in just the same way that the memory of Zyrzir’s voice had done right before he’d replicated it for the first time.

“Is this what you mean?” Solonn asked then, using Sophine’s voice. This earned a surge of various impressed noises from the crowd and an approving nod of sorts from the glalie hovering before him.

“Bravo,” Kashisha said, grinning wickedly. “Say… why don’t you come with me and entertain some of my friends?”

“I don’t know…” Solonn wanted to back away from her, but he felt rooted to the spot.

“Oh, I think you’d better—unless you’d rather I snap you in half…”

“Okay, fine, I’ll go!”

“Good! And while we’re at it…” Kashisha plunged her face into the snow, pulled Zilag out of hiding, and dropped her protesting brother at Solonn’s feet. “He’ll be coming along with us, too. He is your best friend, after all, right? Surely he wouldn’t want to miss your big debut in front of a real audience?”

“No, ma’am, I wouldn’t,” Zilag said weakly in defeat.

“Off we go, then!” Kashisha said merrily. She circled around Solonn and Zilag and began shoving them along before her. The two snorunt got moving in a hurry as Kashisha set about herding them out of the snowgrounds.

“What should we do?” Reizirr asked once Kashisha and her victims had left.

“Start composing their eulogies,” Davron answered grimly.

* * *

Solonn and Zilag scrambled to stay both on their feet and ahead of the periodically snapping jaws of Kashisha, who had driven them into a part of the warren that Solonn had never seen before.

With one last shove, she brought the journey of the two snorunt to an end, forcing them into a wide, low-ceilinged room. Solonn saw at once that he, Zilag, and the glalie who had brought them to this place were not the only ones present. The room was also presently occupied by nine other glalie who were sitting in a row and glaring at the two snorunt like some sort of sinister council.

“I see you brought your pathetic little brother again,” the male in the center of the row said. “I’m getting bored of tormenting him, though… but who’s this other brat?”

“This is Solonn,” Kashisha told him. “He’s our new court jester,” she added with an enormous grin. She nudged Solonn toward the glalie in the center of the row. “That, Solonn, is Sanaika, the Master of Ceremonies. And I do mean ‘master’. Bow before him!”

“Yes, bow!” Sanaika snapped.

Solonn lowered his head slightly. Sanaika responded by spitting a chunk of ice that struck him in the forehead, eliciting a shout of pain from the snorunt.

“The Master approves! You are now initiated into the Fellowship of Slaves!” Kashisha said gleefully. “Now! Perform for your master!”

With a small sigh, Solonn ran through his impression of Zyrzir’s voice, followed by that of Sophine’s voice. Then, after rummaging briefly through his memories, he produced a third impression: the voice of Sophine’s mother.

“What an entertaining little weenie you are!” Sanaika remarked once Solonn had finished.

“I knew you’d like him!” Kashisha exclaimed proudly. “That sealeo voice trick at the end was a nice touch, by the way,” she told Solonn.

“Yeah, but I can think of one impression that I guarantee you he doesn’t know,” Sanaika said. The glalie at either side of him gazed expectantly at him with looks of toadying curiosity. “Human.”

“Oh, that’s brilliant!” Kashisha crowed, her eyes flashing diabolically. The other glalie echoed her enthusiastic approval.

“…Wait, did you say ‘human’?” Solonn asked. He was sure that he couldn’t have heard that right…

“Yes, you little turd, human,” Sanaika spat disdainfully. “You know, those weird, stupid-looking things with the long limbs and tiny little heads who sound completely ridiculous when they talk…”

“And taste like crap,” the glalie to Sanaika’s left offered.

You wouldn’t know,” Sanaika scoffed at him. “But yes, they do taste like crap.”

“Humans don’t exist,” Solonn dared to say. “They’re just a myth…”

All of the glalie stared incredulously at Solonn. Zilag quickly looked away from him, terrified that something hideous was about to befall his friend.

“Oh, they do exist,” Sanaika said in a low, rather ominous voice. “In fact, you’re going to find out for yourself just how real they are, and you might find yourself very, very grateful that they are, too.”

Sanaika brought himself to hover right before Solonn, just inches away from his face. “I am giving you a quest and an offer. You’ll go up to where the humans are. You’ll meet one, see it with your own eyes, and hopefully get to hear the idiotic sound of its voice. And if you can return to us with a perfectly realistic impression of that voice, then I promise you’ll never have to come here again if you don’t want to.”

“What do you say, little baby? You want to go human-hunting?” Kashisha asked playfully.

“Oh, it’s not his choice,” Sanaika told her. “Now, you and the others can stay here and babysit your little brother while I deliver this twerp to his date with a human.”

“Aw, we wanted to come and watch!” Kashisha complained. The other glalie griped, as well, and one of them even snapped at Sanaika in her outrage. Sanaika calmly turned toward the offender. His eyes suddenly turned a blazing white, and with a resounding crack, he struck her with sheer cold. His would-be attacker’s eyes rolled back, and she dropped heavily to the floor, unconscious.

“You brain wrecks! We can’t all gather at the exit like that!” Sanaika then said. “Do you not realize how conspicuous we would be? What if we were spotted by some ball-chucking human, huh? Or worse, by the authorities? Now, all of you, stay put, or else you’ll all find icicles where you’d rather not.”

With that, Sanaika seized Solonn very harshly in his jaws and set off into the warren with him. He carried the snorunt through a series of tunnels that led, much to Solonn’s surprise, up to the very same cavern where, all those years ago, Solonn had met Sophine and her mother. Then Sanaika left the cavern, and he sealed the exit behind him with a wall of ice.

Solonn knew that there was no way for him to get through that ice wall. Barriers like that one were commonplace in the warren, existing to control where snorunt could and could not go. The ice of which they were made was too thick for even his teeth, the teeth of a creature who frequently ate ice, to break through. It was reinforced with the raw power of the ice element, and could only be removed by the kind of control over ice that no snorunt possessed.

He knew that the tunnel that led up into this place from the snowgrounds had been blocked off in the same way not long after Kashisha had told on Zilag for encouraging others to travel through it, having learned as much from Zilag years ago. So it seemed that there was no option for Solonn other than to sit and wait for some glalie—and a decent one rather than someone like Sanaika, he hoped—to discover that he was here. He figured that he couldn’t rightly get into trouble as he had last time once he’d had a chance to tell of how, and because of whom, he had ended up here—or, at least, he hoped that he couldn’t get into trouble…

Solonn found himself strongly wishing that he wouldn’t have to wait much longer to be discovered, regardless of any punishment that might or might not be awaiting him. He was growing quite nervous about remaining in that place, and when he realized that it was because of those humans that Sanaika had said Solonn would encounter there, he couldn’t help but give a little laugh.

Gods, that’s not what you’re afraid of, is it? Solonn thought incredulously. Don’t be stupid, he scolded himself silently. You know there’s no such thing as humans!

“Well, well, well. I just knew that if we kept coming back here, we were sure to find one sooner or later.”

Startled, Solonn jumped at the unexpected, somewhat gruff-sounding voice. He turned toward its source. Standing only a couple of feet away was a manectric, but Solonn had no way of recognizing that. The electric-type had managed to sneak right up behind Solonn, completely unnoticed until he had spoken.

“Who… who are you?” Solonn asked nervously.

“Oh, there’ll be plenty of time for introductions once we’re back in Lilycove, buddy,” the manectric said. He then unleashed a chilling, wavering howl, the sound of which was magnified and echoed by the cavern.

As the howl faded, another sound became audible. Solonn recognized it as the sound of snow crunching underfoot, but these footfalls sounded much heavier than those made by his own feet or those of any other snorunt. The footsteps were approaching swiftly, and soon their owner came into view.

For a very long moment, Solonn’s mind went blank at the sight of the newcomer. They do exist, Solonn thought, his eyes wide with wonder. As impossible as part of him still insisted that such a thing was, the creature that now stood a short distance before him fit Sanaika’s description of a human well enough in his eyes to make him believe that that might very well be exactly what he was seeing.

“Ah, Brett, you found one! Good job!” the human said brightly. The sound of her voice surprised Solonn; he didn’t think that it fit Sanaika’s descriptions of how humans sounded at all.

The human then detached a pokéball from its resting place at her hip. It expanded in her hand, more than tripling in size. “Come out, Aaron!” she said.

At the human’s words, the sphere burst open at its equator. Energy exploded from within the sphere in a surge of white light, and then, much to Solonn’s astonishment, it coagulated into a living creature. A sceptile now stood at the human’s side.

“Don’t be afraid, snorunt,” the human said gently. “We don’t really want to hurt you. We’re going to make this as easy on you as possible. You won’t even feel a thing.”

She looked toward Brett and then toward Aaron. “Thunder wave and false swipe, please,” she instructed them respectively. The two pokémon gave quick nods of acknowledgment, then began moving toward Solonn. Brett’s fur crackled with dancing sparks of electricity, while one of the bladelike structures at Aaron’s left wrist took on a white glow.

Where others might have screamed, fled, or perhaps attacked out of fright, Solonn only stood and stared, transfixed by fascination and lingering disbelief at the human and the two pokémon who accompanied her. He seemed not to even realize that he was being attacked until it was too late.

Brett released a small pulse of electric-type energy. Solonn cried out at the initial pain as the attack struck him, but a second later, that pain was gone—along with all other sensation throughout his body. His legs gave out from under him in the next instant, and he toppled over onto his side.

Aaron was now standing over him, peering down through eyes of a dull yellow shade as he raised his glowing wrist blade. Solonn could not see this, however. His view of Aaron was limited to the sceptile’s tail and clawed feet. He did not see the careful, precise strike that left him on the sheer edge of consciousness, and just as the human had said would be the case, he did not feel it either.

“All right, that ought to do it,” the human said. From a pouch strapped to her shoulder, she produced another capture ball, a great ball this time.

Barely able to remain conscious as he was, Solonn’s mind didn’t quite register the human’s next action: she threw the ball at him. It opened in midair before him and released a beam of red energy that struck him and filled his fading vision with crimson light.

One second, Solonn was lying paralyzed and nearly unconscious on the cavern’s floor. The next… he was nowhere.


A little history on the name “Kashisha”: the late Billie, one of my cats, would invariably hiss at me whenever I said that word to her. None of my other cats have ever responded that way to that word. Weird, but true. XD

Next time: The intentions of Solonn’s captor are made clear. See you then!

- Sike Saner

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The Origin of Storms

Last edited by Sike Saner; 08-20-2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Revisions.
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Chapter 3 – The Deal

There were a number of things that Solonn felt upon his release from the capture ball. First came sheer relief, both at no longer being drained and paralyzed (he distantly wondered how he had recovered so completely and suddenly), and, to a greater degree, at just being out of that ball—its particular style of confinement had just been too surreal by his reckoning. He had been conscious all the while that he’d been contained within that sphere, but had seemed not to actually exist. It was as though the great ball had reduced him to nothing more than a mind without a body, impossible though it seemed to him that such a thing should be. Trying to make sense of it seemed to achieve nothing more than a sore head, and so Solonn pushed that particular matter aside for the time being.

With the mysteries of the capture ball no longer first and foremost on his mind, Solonn’s focus shifted to the human who stood just a short distance in front of him. Since his captor was no longer wearing the heavy clothing that had protected her from the cold of Shoal Cave, she looked somewhat smaller now, less bulky, and with her head no longer covered by a hood, he could now see her brown, shoulder-length hair.

The next thing that Solonn noticed about his present situation was that the environment into which he had been brought was too warm for his liking. “Er… excuse me,” he said as he looked up at the human. “It’s a little too warm in here… could you do anything about that?”

The human merely stared at him in response.

Solonn repeated his request. This time, his captor cocked her head a bit and smiled at him, but she still did not answer, nor did she make any move to change the temperature.

It was then that Solonn realized that the human was not understanding a single word that he was saying. This didn’t make sense to him; every time before that Solonn had encountered a member of another species, they had been as able to understand him as were those of his own kind. Why, he wondered, was the human any different?

Solonn wondered then if she might understand him if he were to speak to her using a human voice. As he considered it, his mind brought forth the memories of her voice as he had heard it back in Shoal Cave, and he felt quite sure that he could pull off an imitation of that voice.

With that confidence, he was about to give the voice a try—but then he stopped himself. He had just been struck by the realization that doing these “impressions” was what had gotten him swept up into this situation to begin with. It was because he had revealed that talent that he had gotten mixed up with Sanaika’s gang and that now—it hit him all at once—he would likely never see home again.

In sudden panic, Solonn began to tremble, and the human responded to this right away. “Oh, poor little guy,” she said, looking upon him with a pitying expression as she knelt down upon the floor in front of him. “It’s okay; you have nothing to be scared of.”

She opened her arms to Solonn, which only confused him. She then wrapped her arms around him and tried to lift him up, but he was quite heavier than she had expected. Solonn, meanwhile, did not like what she was doing. For a moment, his instincts took over, and he tried to wriggle free of her grasp. He just barely managed to stop himself short of biting her.

Finally, sensing both the futility of her efforts and the snorunt’s aversion to what she was trying to do, the human gave up and let go of Solonn. Shaking the coldness of her contact with the ice-type from her hands, she stood and went to fetch a pillow from the bed. She placed it on the floor as something on which Solonn could sit and perhaps be more comfortable. The snorunt ignored it completely, giving her a penetrating stare.

The human sighed. “Okay. I’ll tell you what: I’ll go and get you something nice, something that I promise you’ll like. In the meantime, I’ll give you a chance to get acquainted with a couple of your new friends. You’ve already met Aaron and Brett, but I have three other pokémon friends. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to meet Sei until she gets out of the pokémon center; she’s been pretty sick. But you can go ahead and introduce yourself to these two.”

She removed two capture balls from her belt and released their occupants in twin surges of white light. A skarmory materialized at her right, while a claydol appeared at her left. There was something strangely disconcerting on a very primal level about the former, but Solonn couldn’t quite place what that something was.

“This is Raze,” the human introduced as she pointed at the skarmory, “and this is Ominous,” she said, pointing at the claydol. “Oh… I forgot to introduce myself, didn’t I?” she realized aloud with a small giggle. “My name is Morgan Yorke. Anyway, these pokémon are some of my best friends, and I just know that ultimately you and I are going to get to be really good friends, too. See you in a few minutes!” she said, then left the room.

For a moment, the other two pokémon just stared at Solonn, and he seemed unable to do anything but stare back. He quickly began to wish they would stop it, particularly with regards to Ominous—it was just more than a little unnerving to him to have that many eyes staring at him from the same face.

All those eyes left no room on Ominous’s face for a mouth; therefore, it was quite a surprise for Solonn to hear the claydol speak to him then—although it didn’t sound as though Ominous was actually saying anything. Its “voice”, if it could truly be called that, consisted of a rapid-fire series of low-pitched, hollow-sounding noises. Solonn got an immediate sense that he could never replicate that voice, no matter how he tried.

“With your brain, nitwit!” Raze suddenly squawked, interrupting the claydol.

Ominous winced, closing all of its eyes in unison. <I apologize,> it said. <I should not still be forgetting about that…>

A second after Ominous had spoken, Solonn realized, astounded, that he’d not actually heard its words. Rather, even while its actual voice had rattled on incomprehensibly in Solonn’s ears, the words the claydol was conveying had sounded within his mind, just as one of his own thoughts would do. Solonn wasn’t quite sure what to make of this phenomenon.

<As I was attempting to say,> Ominous proceeded then, <the name by which Morgan called me is not my actual name. My true name is Oth.>

“My name really is Raze, though,” the skarmory said slightly dismally. “I was born in this house, and that’s when Morgan gave me that name. I don’t think it’s such a great name, but…” She ruffled her magenta-feathered wings in the skarmory equivalent of a shrug. “So, what name did she give you?” Raze asked then.

“Er… I don’t know,” Solonn admitted. “My real name is Solonn, though.”

<She must not have given him his new name yet, then,> Oth supposed.

“Maybe she isn’t going to give me another name,” Solonn said.

“Oh, she’ll give you one,” Raze said. “Maybe you’ll like it, and maybe you won’t. But you’ll be grateful for it, and also grateful that you got landed with Morgan and not some other coordinator, because with some coordinators, you would just get called ‘Snorunt’.”

“…Coordinators?” Solonn had never heard of such a thing.

Raze cocked her head at Solonn. “You have a lot to learn,” she said.

“Then you have a lot to explain,” Solonn countered. “What’s a coordinator?”

“Well, a coordinator is your human coach and partner for the contests,” Raze explained. “And before you ask: in a contest, you just basically have to show off your powers. You use them in ways that impress humans. In your case, that means you can’t just blow a couple of snowflakes at them and expect to win.”

Somehow, the idea of “showing off” for the humans was less than appealing to Solonn—in fact, it rather reminded him of being ushered off by Kashisha to show off for her friends. “Wait, why would I want to do this, anyway?” he asked. “What’s in it for me?”

Raze’s yellow eyes suddenly glittered with zeal. “I’ll show you!” she said eagerly, then speedily crossed the room. “Come here!” she beckoned gleefully, standing before a bookcase that was just a bit shorter than she was. After a moment of skeptical hesitation, Solonn complied. “Have a look at these!” Raze said cheerfully once the snorunt had joined her, inclining her head toward something sitting on the bookcase’s top shelf.

“I can’t see up there, Raze,” Solonn said.

“Oh… oops,” Raze said with a small, embarrassed laugh. Somewhat awkwardly, she used her beak to pick up the thing that she was trying to show to Solonn and set it down on the floor between herself and the snorunt.

Solonn peered at the object that had just been placed before him. It was a large, flat, plastic case. Through its transparent lid, he could see a collection of twelve small trinkets: colored ribbons, each adorned with a little metal medallion. The case also contained slots for eight more of these ribbons.

“The red ones are mine,” Raze said, positively radiating pride, “the yellow ones are Oth’s, and the green ones are Sei’s. Now, yours, if I’m not mistaken, are gonna be blue.”

“Hm.” You sure are assuming a lot, Raze… Solonn thought. It was going to take more than just a bunch of ribbons to convince Solonn that these “contests” were anything of which he should like to have any part. “So,” he spoke up after a long moment’s silence, looking up from the ribbon case and right into Raze’s eyes, “this is what Morgan keeps us for?”

“Well, yeah, pretty much,” Raze answered. She then put the ribbon case back up on top of the bookcase, taking one last moment to admire her ribbons before turning her attention fully to the snorunt.

“So… suppose I didn’t want to be a part of these contests… would she take me back home, then?” Solonn asked.

There was a prolonged silence. Raze and Oth exchanged awkward glances.

“Well?” Solonn pressed.

<Solonn…> Oth began hesitantly. <Morgan had been seeking a snorunt to train for entry into contests for quite some time. She has spent many an hour composing routines and strategies for you… I do not imagine that she would want for her plans to go to waste, Solonn.>

“Well, maybe she can just go find some other snorunt for the job,” Solonn suggested. “Someone who actually wants it.”

<I do not believe you would really want that,> Oth said. <You do not truly wish for another snorunt, possibly one of your friends, to be taken from his or her home just so that you can return to your own.>

Solonn stared agape at Oth for a moment. The claydol was completely right; Solonn did not even try in the slightest to contradict it.

“This… this is your home now, Solonn,” Raze said, knowing the consolation to be futile even as she offered it. “You’ll get used to it eventually; I know you will.”

“Yeah, of course you can say that,” Solonn muttered, not really bothering to make himself inaudible. “You were born here.”

“I—” Raze began to counter, but she couldn’t quite find the right words with which to respond and thus abandoned her comeback with a sigh.

It was then that the door opened as Morgan returned, and she was not alone. Accompanying her was another human female, slightly taller and with shorter, darker hair.

“There he is,” Morgan said as the two entered, indicating Solonn with her hand. “What do you think of him?”

“Oh, he’s adorable,” the other human remarked. She stooped slightly to come a bit closer to the snorunt’s eye level. “Hi,” she said in a friendly tone. “Let me introduce myself. I’m Eliza, Morgan’s mother.” She extended her arms to Solonn with an expecting gaze.

“He doesn’t do hugs,” Morgan informed her.

“Oh… Well, that’s all right,” Eliza said, withdrawing her arms and straightening her posture. “What’s his name?” she then asked.

“I’ve decided to call him Azrael,” Morgan replied.

Solonn gave her a funny look. That’s really the best you could come up with?

“Oh, that’s lovely,” Eliza commented.

Morgan smiled in response to her mother’s remark. She then brought a small, polystyrene bowl forward, holding it out in front of Solonn.

Distracted by the arrival of the new human, Solonn hadn’t even noticed that Morgan had been holding the bowl. He now stared at it with uncertainty, edging somewhat closer to it in order to get a look inside. He saw that the bowl contained something that looked more or less like snow but was bright blue in color.

“This is for you,” Morgan told him. “Try it, it’s really good.”

Solonn gazed into the bowl for another second or two, then turned a skeptical gaze toward Morgan.

“Go on, it’s tasty. I promise you’ll like it,” Morgan tried to assure him.

Still wearing an expression of doubt, Solonn nonetheless took the bowl from Morgan’s hands. He continued to hesitate for another long moment before unenthusiastically dipping his hand into the blue snow, scooping some of it up, and putting it in his mouth. The blue snow had a flavor that he could never have imagined—he conceded to himself at once that it was good as Morgan had said it would be, if not moreso.

However… the knowledge that his life had become one whose sole purpose was to perform tricks for people’s amusement like some kind of jester and that there seemed to be no way to return to the life that he’d previously known was now attending heavily upon him and leaving a rather unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach. He did not feel like eating. With a despondent sigh, he set the bowl down and turned away from Morgan.

“Hey… are you feeling okay?” Morgan asked worriedly.

Solonn did not respond to her, neither then nor following her several subsequent attempts to get through to him. More than once, she tried to tempt him with that blue snow, but he continued to refuse it. He could not change this new life, but for a while, at least, he could try to ignore it and pretend that it wasn’t happening.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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The remainder of that evening, as well as the night that followed, consisted of an awkward pattern of failed interactions between Solonn and his would-be coordinator. Morgan attempted time and time again to converse and be friendly with him, but each time, she was met with resolute silence from the snorunt. After each unsuccessful attempt to socialize with him, she would leave him alone for an hour or so before giving it another go, only to fail to get through to him yet again.

The human did, at least, leave Solonn out of the great ball through the night, for which he was grateful. Perhaps, Solonn considered, she had thought that this would offer her new pokémon some time to grow more accustomed to his surroundings. However, the snorunt instead viewed it as a potential opportunity to flee from the human’s custody while she slept.

Unfortunately, he found out very quickly that escape was not an option. The door was rendered an impassible barrier by a sliding lock, one that was installed in the door at a height that was beyond Solonn’s reach. If not for the fact that Morgan’s bookcase contained small, pewter pokémon statues rather than books, he might have been able to stack up a few volumes as a means by which to reach that lock.

The room’s sole window was positioned within Solonn’s reach, but it didn’t offer an avenue of escape, either; Morgan’s room was upstairs in a two-story house. Though by no means enjoying his present situation, Solonn wasn’t inclined to escape it by falling to likely injury and possible death.

Having given up on finding a way to slip out, he just sat there on the windowsill, staring out through the window at its view of an alien environment. This was not his world, not his place—though he could not deny that he found it fascinating, even rather lovely to behold as he watched the light show put on by the cars that moved past the house.

Though tired in many ways, most of which were not physical, Solonn found that he could not sleep. His eyes remained open and fixed on the city outside, watching as the rising sun brought a new day over the border of the horizon.

A couple of hours later, Morgan stirred nearby in her bed, awakening. Sighing, Solonn turned away from the window at last, wondering in which ways the human would try to reach him today.

He received his answer quite shortly. Morgan left the room for a few minutes, then returned with more of that blue snow and set it down in front of him. He accepted it this time and ate nearly all of it, but only because he was earnestly very hungry. The human smiled at him as she took away the empty bowl, then departed to take her own breakfast.

It was when Morgan next returned that she attempted to step up the level of interaction between herself and her new pokémon a little more.

“I’ll bet you’re wondering why you’re here, aren’t you?” she said, her tone clearly intended to sound as kindly and non-threatening as possible. “Well, you don’t have to worry. It’s not going to be anywhere near as scary as you might think. In fact, I bet you’ll have more fun than you’ve ever had before.”

Morgan then proceeded to illustrate her intention to enter Solonn in contests, not really telling him anything that he hadn’t already heard from Raze and Oth the evening before. He pretended not to pay any attention to her, though in reality he was absorbing her every word. It seemed that he was simply unable to tune out a foreign voice.

The day progressed, and Morgan continued to tell Solonn of the ideas she had conceived with regards to the routines that he could employ in contests. As she spoke to him, he had to admit to himself that she didn’t sound as though she truly had any malevolent intentions for him. She wasn’t really coming across to him as a human version of Kashisha; she seemed only to possess a friendly desire to invite him into her strange little hobby, not a desire to prey on him in any sense.

Whether Morgan’s intentions were benign or not, Solonn nonetheless was still not too keen on the idea of making a spectacle of himself, having learned all too well how doing such sometimes earned the wrong kind of attention. There was also still the matter of his captor’s purported unwillingness to let Solonn leave if he so wished, which made it rather difficult for him to very readily accept any sort of friendship or partnership with the human. Hence, as the evening found Morgan offering to initiate the first steps in Solonn’s training, he refused her efforts to bring him into the role that she had chosen for him in silent protest of his detainment.

That night, Solonn sat once again in the moonlight, contemplating his situation as he perched upon the windowsill and gazed outside. Lilycove bore no resemblance to the world that Solonn had known. This left him quite certain that he was very far from home, too far for him to feasibly make it back there by himself.

His eyes fell upon the bed where the human was peacefully sleeping. Solonn wanted to leave, to return home, but this creature would not allow him to do so.

Wait, though… how do I really know she wouldn’t? the thought occurred to him then. Raze and Oth had implied that Morgan had no intention of letting him go, but the human herself had never said anything along the lines of, “You’re never leaving. You’re mine forever.” Morgan had never specifically mentioned anything at all regarding whether or not Solonn could ever depart her custody. Moreover, she didn’t even know that her new snorunt desired to be returned to his home.

What if she actually knew that I want to go back home? Solonn wondered. He could really only speculate as to what her response would be, though, for the problem remained that she was, for whatever reason, unable to understand his speech. He could not communicate with her.

…Although, maybe he could. He had, after all, still not tried to see if Morgan could understand him if he were to speak like a human. However, he was still hesitant to attempt it, for the memory of what the last use of his mimicry had earned for him was still fresh on his mind.

The fact remained, though, that Solonn would likely never know how Morgan would really respond to his desire to be returned home unless he shared it with her. As he thought about it, it began to seem to him that he was doing himself more of a disservice by not giving it a try than by taking the risk.

Furthermore, Solonn questioned if there really was that much of a risk involved with exposing his talents in order to speak with this creature. True, he had gotten into trouble the last time he had presented this skill of his. However, as he considered once again, Morgan was no Kashisha, at least not as far as he could tell, so perhaps it wouldn’t be like last time. Perhaps Morgan would simply hear him out without making him sorry that he’d reached out to her and give him what he wanted…

But then, Solonn found himself considering what Oth had told him: <I do not imagine that she would want for her plans to go to waste, Solonn.> Morgan truly seemed to him to have her heart set on entering contests with him, and he suspected that she would not so readily abandon those aspirations. Solonn could tell her that he wanted to leave, but as long as she held these intentions for him, what chance was there, really, that she would let him go?

That’s when the idea hit him: maybe, just maybe, a deal could be struck.

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 01:45 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Solonn carefully gauged the distance between the windowsill and the bed, then sprang from his perch. The mattress yielded with a bounce to Solonn’s weight as he landed, yet Morgan slept on, snoring slightly. Solonn gazed at her from the foot of the bed. Her sleeping form glowed softly through the darkness with the heat of her body, giving her an almost spectrelike appearance.

Moving toward the concentrated glow that surrounded the human’s head almost as if it were a beacon, Solonn made his way to the head of the bed. Morgan’s face was half concealed by a few errant strands of her hair. Solonn moved them aside, revealing the serene face of his captor. It was interesting, he thought, how a creature whose practice was to abduct people from their homes could look so incredibly benign. The snorunt then reached down toward the human’s face again, this time drawing his hand slowly across her cheek.

Morgan stirred, but only very slightly. Solonn had assumed that the contrasting coldness of his hand against her warm skin would be sufficient to awaken her but now realized that he should have recognized her as a heavy sleeper when his jumping on the bed had failed to make her wake up. He began prodding her in the temple, hoping that that would end her slumber. If it didn’t, he was prepared to do whatever was necessary to awaken her. He was not averse to giving her a small bite if that was what it took.

Luckily for Morgan (at least compared to the biting that she would have received otherwise), Solonn’s current efforts succeeded in waking her up, albeit only because one of his prods missed its mark somewhat and found its way into her left eye.

“Hey!” she responded at once, awakening instantly but not quite fully. She lifted her head slightly from the pillow, grumbling incoherently and rubbing her sore eye for a moment, then shook her head a bit in an effort to more fully awaken, yawning loudly as she did so. She then shifted and turned, sitting up slightly more and craning her neck awkwardly in order to try and get a look at what could have possibly just poked her in the eye. Her eyes, still blurry and adjusting to their resumed usage, just managed to make out the pointed silhouette of the snorunt standing beside her. The light from Solonn’s eyes partially illuminated his face and reflected brightly off of his teeth, giving him a rather eerie appearance.

“Hello, Morgan,” he said quietly, nearly whispering, in a voice that wavered slightly but sounded like Morgan’s voice nonetheless.

Morgan blinked sleepily at the snorunt for a second. “…Hi,” she said finally, the word almost lost in its emergence in the near-simultaneous release of another great yawn.

Then she realized to whom and what she had just replied.

In an instant, she was wide awake, sitting upright and staring at the pokémon beside her with greatly widened eyes. For several seconds, response of any sort to the situation failed her. Finally, she managed a half-gasped, “What?”

“I said hello,” Solonn repeated, his voice deceptively calm.

Morgan remained silently agape for a brief while before she seemed able to get her next words out. “…But… no, you can’t…”

“Yes, I can.”

“But… how?” Morgan asked, her voice sounding rather strained.

“…I don’t know how I can,” Solonn admitted uneasily.

Morgan took a moment to digest that silently. “This is a dream,” she then decided aloud, and began to turn away from Solonn and back toward her pillow.

“No, it’s not,” Solonn said. “And you know it’s not.” He leaned over her slightly so that the light from his eyes washed over her face. “But if you want to be sure, I can bite you. It’d hurt, and I’m sorry it would, but you’d be sure you were really feeling it, I promise you.”

Morgan sat up once again. For a second, she was leveling a look at Solonn that suggested that she wanted to accuse him of lying, but that gaze faltered almost as soon as it had formed. She turned slightly, seeming less than willing now to look him right in the eyes. “It’s okay, Azrael. You don’t have to bite me. I… I believe you.”

Solonn nodded slightly. “Good. That’s good,” he said, his words followed by a small sigh of slight relief. There went the first obstacle—Morgan seemed to have accepted that she could now understand his speech. Hopefully, she could now be counted on to hear him out. “…But Morgan? My name isn’t Azrael. It’s Solonn,” he then said.

Morgan’s expression momentarily turned to one of surprise, but quickly relaxed once more. “It shouldn’t surprise me that you have your own name,” she said, sounding a bit apologetic. “I bet a lot of pokémon do. Like Sei; she told me hers the first time she evolved, and I’ve been calling her that ever since. Before that, I’d been calling her Enchantress…”

Morgan gave a faint chuckle. “I liked that name, but she told me not to call her that anymore, so I don’t. Now, Ominous… Sei told me what its real name was, and so I asked it if it wanted me to start calling it Oth from now on—that’s its name—but according to Sei, it said not to. I think it might have been worried about hurting my feelings by turning down the name I gave it; it’s such a softie, really…”

“So… you mean you can understand Sei, too?” Solonn asked, a bit surprised.

“Yeah. But that’s only because she’s a very powerful psychic-type. She has really advanced telepathic skills, and that’s how she can make me understand her.”

“Oth has telepathy, too. Why can’t you understand it?” Solonn asked.

“…I actually didn’t know that it had telepathy,” Morgan said, sounding surprised.

Oth must be hiding it from her… Solonn realized. He found himself beginning to wonder why it would do so, and also began to worry slightly that he perhaps shouldn’t have told Morgan of its telepathy since Oth apparently desired to keep that matter a secret.

Morgan, meanwhile, had found herself able to make eye contact with Solonn again. Her expression now was one that spoke of burgeoning amazement. “…I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be goggling at you like this,” she said as she seemed to realize the way that she was looking at Solonn. “It’s just… God, this is so incredible. I thought pokémon had to use telepathy to make themselves understood.”

“Guess you were wrong,” Solonn said simply.

“Guess so.” Morgan gave a soft laugh and smiled, her features exuding something that looked rather like pride (although why Morgan should feel proud, Solonn couldn’t figure out; it wasn’t as though she were to credit for his ability to speak to humans, after all).

The human’s features shifted suddenly, becoming strangely unreadable. “Hey. Could you do me a favor, though?” she asked.


“Do you… do you have to sound like a girl when you talk?” Morgan asked. A very odd look came over her face as she realized something. “Do you have to sound like me? How can you sound like me?!” she demanded, sounding rather alarmed.

“Shh! Try to keep quiet; I don’t want your mother to wake up,” Solonn urged. “And I already told you, I don’t know how I do it.”

“…Sorry,” Morgan said, lowering her voice significantly. “But anyway, could you just… um, not sound like me? No offense, but it’s… kind of weirding me out. Why don’t you just use your normal voice from now on, okay?”

Solonn was about to respond, to tell Morgan that she would no longer understand him if he stopped using that human voice. But then, something caught in his mind: Why should what voice I use make a difference in whether or not anyone understands me? He could understand how the abilities of a psychic could make the understanding of speech possible by entering the mind and tricking it into hearing words it recognized. He, however, was no psychic, and he knew it.

A different voice should still only produce the same words, he reckoned; it shouldn’t have the power to transform those words into others. If a creature, like this human, could not understand his words, he should have to use different words to be understood. Their words. Their language.

The gears of his mind momentarily stopped turning as epiphany struck him like a falling stone. The only way Morgan could be understanding him was if he was, in fact, speaking her language instead of his own. And that was precisely what he was doing.

Solonn was stupefied. For the life of him, he could not fathom how this could be at all possible. That he could be spontaneously able to fluently speak a language that he did not, could not know, a language of which he had only heard a couple of handfuls of words, was a staggering, almost paralyzing notion to him.

He swallowed hard, and his mouth went immediately dry afterward. He was fond of wondering and loath to resist the urge to do so, but the desire to understand this matter was so savagely desperate that he could barely tolerate it. It was almost physically painful, knowing that there was something so strange within him and wanting dearly to know quite what it was and how it could be possible but seeming unable to do so.

If he had belonged to some other species, he might have begun crying in his astonishment. As it happened, though, his tears were not in service to his emotions, as was the case for all of his kind. His internal struggle to fathom himself could only convey itself through the trembling of his body and the wavering of the light in his eyes.

“Is… is something wrong?” Morgan asked, sounding more than a little concerned.

Solonn met her gaze, the earnest care behind the human’s eyes managing to register within his mind despite everything else going on behind his own eyes at the time. He tried to respond but couldn’t quite decide what to say, especially since he wasn’t quite sure of how he should say it. He should be able to use his own voice, he tried to reason silently—it had to be the language and not the voice—but he still just couldn’t quite believe it.

“It’s okay,” Morgan said. “If you’re not comfortable talking to me in your own voice, you don’t really have to.”

Solonn closed his eyes. “No,” he croaked softly, continuing to use Morgan’s voice, his throat feeling as though it were trying to seal itself shut. “No, it’s… it’s not that.”

To prove that that wasn’t the issue, he determined that he would have to try and speak to Morgan with his own voice while still speaking her language. He would just have to try and force himself not to let his mind be ensnared by the mental block that was created by the notion that he was doing something that should not be possible.

Solonn took a deep breath and forced himself to return Morgan’s gaze once more. “It’s nothing…” he finally managed. Conscious as he presently was of the seemingly impossible thing that he was doing, the release of his every word felt as though he were pushing a boulder out of his mouth. Get a grip, he tried to command himself, you’re supposed to be talking to her for a reason, remember? “Listen…” he began slowly, all too self-consciously. “I’m sorry I woke you… but we need to talk.”

Morgan nodded. “Okay. What about?”

“Well… it’s about those contests…”

“You don’t want to do them, do you?” Morgan said. “I’ve kind of gotten that impression.”

“…What?” Solonn was taken aback—he had not expected that the human would have recognized his desires. “No… I mean, I’d rather not, but… I’ll do them.”

“Azr—Solonn… you don’t have to. Seriously, if you don’t want to…”

“No, it’s okay,” Solonn insisted. By the initial impression that he’d gotten from Raze’s and Oth’s words, he had imagined that Morgan would take great offense to his wishes to have nothing to do with the contests if she were to learn about them and would vehemently refuse to relinquish her plans for him. Yet here she was, ready to give up her intentions for him without any sign of a conflict. Solonn now found himself feeling quite guilty about his unfavorable preconceptions of her.

He sighed. “I know… I know you’ve been planning hard for a long time for this… and I know it means a lot to you. It’s… it’s not a big deal. Really. I’ll do it—but only on one condition.”

“What?” Morgan asked, sending a troubled, doubtful look into Solonn’s eyes.

Solonn took another deep breath. “Okay. Raze and Oth… they showed me their ribbons. Four each. That’s… that’s how many I have to get myself, isn’t it? Four?” he asked. Morgan nodded. “Okay. After I get the fourth one—you have to promise me, Morgan—after I get that fourth ribbon… you have to let me go. You have to take me back home. Promise me, Morgan. Or I won’t do it.”

“Oh, Solonn…” Morgan’s gaze turned from merely troubled to earnestly sad, earnestly sorry. “If you want to go so bad, I’ll take you home right now. I’ll get Ominous out of its ball and wake it up, and we’ll teleport there right—”

“No!” Solonn interrupted her. His guilt had increased greatly—not only was Morgan fully accepting of his wishes regarding the contests, she was even completely ready and willing to take him straight back home, and he had imagined her as immovably, irreconcilably possessive of him, as a creature who would never release his life from the grip of her own…

“No… I said it’s okay, and I meant it,” he insisted, trying his best to convey a firm conviction in spite of the way his voice was shaking. “I’ll do this. I don’t mind, I really don’t, just as long as I know I’ll be going home when this is done. That way… that way, we can both get what we want.” He swallowed. “It’s only fair, don’t you think?”

There was a long silence, one that seemed to tremble along with the two who shared it. Morgan gazed with anguish at Solonn, silent until a strangled sound, the prelude to a sob, escaped from her throat. In the next moment, her eyes filled with tears, which then fell forth in streams that shone in the moonlight as they ran down Morgan’s face. Solonn had never seen such a thing in his life; he couldn’t help but stare in wonder, amazed by the beauty that he saw in it.

Morgan nodded then, but that action was overshadowed by a sudden, forward motion that was halfway between lunging and collapsing. Her arms encircled Solonn, and she pressed her forehead against his. The snorunt stiffened, initially surprised by and resistant to the unexpected contact, but he managed to get himself to relax quickly enough.

“Okay,” Morgan said, half-whispering, half-sobbing. “If you’re really okay with this, then we’ll go ahead with it. And then afterward, I’ll take you home. I promise.”

Solonn nodded, acknowledging Morgan’s seeming acceptance of his terms. He had imagined that he would be greatly surprised should the deal go through. Now, however, he couldn’t believe that he’d honestly expected that it wouldn’t. Morgan cared as much about his wishes as her own; that much was now certain to him. She was perfectly willing to give him what he wanted. In return and in appreciation of that—and in apology for harboring such harsh preconceptions, too, although he did quite a good job of convincing himself that his sense of guilt had very little to do with it—he would give her what she wanted. In his mind, it seemed only fair, after all.

The definite impression Solonn got from the human was that her word could be trusted. One day, she would take him home. But, until then… It was now, with the initial panic at the prospect of never again seeing home having gone and passed, that the opportunities of Solonn’s situation dared at last to come forward and present themselves to him. Until the day arrived when he would return to Virc-Dho, perhaps he would get to encounter and experience more strange things, more wonders of which he could never have conceived. This, he reckoned, could be interesting…


You may have gathered that I am following the game version of contests more than the anime version, what with the contests being divided into five categories. I will, however, be implementing a couple of elements from the anime version, as well as a couple of things which occur in neither the anime nor in the games.

Next time: In entering into the lifestyle of a contest pokémon, a new era of Solonn’s life begins… See you then!

- Sike Saner

Banner by Saffire Persian

The Origin of Storms

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 01:50 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Chapter 4 – Spell of the Spotlight

The following morning brought a choice.

“All right, Solonn. The contest hall here in town will be holding two normal rank contests—those are the ones for newcomers—in the upcoming months,” Morgan said. “There’ll be one in three weeks, on the twenty-fifth, and then there’ll be another one two months afterward, on August twenty-fifth. Now, if you start your training now, you could enter into the earlier one, but you might want to wait until the August contest so that you can get more practice in and be more prepared. But it’s your call, Solonn.”

“I’ll go for the earlier one,” Solonn said at once. In his mind, it was no question at all—the sooner he got started with these contests, the sooner, he reckoned, he could be done with them and return to his home.

Morgan nodded. “Okay, then.” She would have preferred for him to wait until the later contest, believing that the extra time to prepare would have done him quite a bit of good. Nonetheless, she chose to respect Solonn’s choice and allowed his decision to stand.

* * *

That afternoon, Solonn’s contest training began in earnest. It was initiated in a way that Solonn found quite odd: Morgan offered him a small, indigo-colored cube and told him to eat it, saying that it would help him to do well in the contests.

Solonn looked at Morgan as if she were crazy. “How is this thing supposed to make any difference in whether or not I win?”

“Well… what it does is it refines your appearance. These pokéblocks will help you look as healthy and as… er, handsome as you can look. Making a good visual impression on the audience and judges is very important.”

Solonn continued to gaze skeptically at the human. Whatever, he decided finally, and took the pokéblock from Morgan, devouring it quickly. The little candy was… okay; it was kind of good, except that it had this funny, sort of sour aftertaste. That was really the only fault Solonn could find with the pokéblock, though, and it was really only mildly unpleasant—at first. Then he found the little candy cube beginning to disagree with him… and then to strongly disagree with him…

Morgan looked on with pity and poorly concealed revulsion as the snorunt’s body rejected the pokéblock. However, that undesired reaction did not dissuade her from attempting to feed Solonn another of those indigo candies later that evening. Solonn resisted at first—he wasn’t exactly eager to throw up again, after all.

“This one’s different,” Morgan tried to assure him. “I made more than one formula since I didn’t know which you’d do best with. Unfortunately, they just so happen to be the same color—but I promise you, they’re not the same. I even got rid of all of the other kind, so there won’t be any mix-ups.”

Solonn stared warily at her for a long while, his stomach threatening to go sour at just the mere memory of what the last pokéblock had done to him. Then, with a sigh of resignation, he accepted this identical-looking yet supposedly different pokéblock. Immediately, he discovered that Morgan had indeed been telling the truth—this little indigo cube was different from its predecessor. The flavor was one that Solonn immediately and greatly liked, and it didn’t have the disagreeable aftertaste of the other pokéblock. Seconds passed, and it showed no threat of sickening him. Solonn looked up at Morgan with an approving smile.

Morgan smiled back. “Ah, so this one’s a winner, huh?” Solonn nodded in response. “Good! Okay, then. You’ll be getting two of these a day until they’ve done as much for you as they can,” she told him.

This was certainly an aspect of contest training that Solonn didn’t mind in the least. However, he remained skeptical that merely eating candies was going to sufficiently prepare him for any sort of competition. He wondered what else the human might have in store for him in order to get him ready for these contests, these things which were the sole obstacle impeding his return home.

* * *

Around noon the next day, Morgan departed and returned a short while later accompanied by a heretofore unfamiliar presence.

“Solonn, this is Sei Salma, an alakazam,” Morgan said.

The pokémon at her side bowed, her blonde mustache twitching slightly as she smiled warmly. <A pleasure to meet you, young sir,> the alakazam said, her telepathic “voice” simulating a slightly gruff contralto that Solonn guessed was also the sound of Sei’s actual voice. <I understand that you and Ms. Yorke have a most unique relationship, yes?>

“…What?” Somehow Sei’s statement had come across to Solonn in a way that she had certainly not intended.

<You are able to speak to Ms. Yorke in her own language, are you not?> Sei elaborated.

“Oh… Yeah, that’s right,” Solonn confirmed, albeit a bit hesitantly.

<Ms. Yorke and I were discussing this on the way here. We’ve arrived at a conclusion regarding your abilities with which I know you’re already very much in agreement. It’s best that other humans do not discover your abilities, do you not agree?> Sei asked.

“Yeah,” Solonn said. “I’d really feel better if as few people knew about this as possible.” By “people” he was referring not only to humans but to other pokémon, as well. He was very mindful of not letting just anybody learn what he was able to do. In fact, he would really have preferred for Morgan to ask him for permission before revealing his secret to Sei…

<I understand your concern,> Sei said then, <but I assure you, Ms. Yorke had your best interests in mind when she informed me of what you’re able to do. She wouldn’t have told me otherwise. Furthermore, you have my word that I will not reveal your secret to anyone without your consent… And yes, I have just read your thoughts. I do try to tune such things out for the sake of courtesy, but…> She shrugged. <Sometimes thoughts are simply too strong to block.>

A mind-reader… Solonn figured then that, courteous or not, Sei would have probably absorbed the knowledge of his abilities sooner or later, either from Morgan or from himself, without having to be told of them.

<The privacy of those who have no form of mental defense is something my people take very seriously,> Sei assured him earnestly. <We wouldn’t be trusted at all by any other species if we didn’t stay out of their minds as much as possible. Even with our measures to respect their privacy in place, many species still do not trust us.>

Whether or not that was meant as a guilt-trip, it certainly worked as one on Solonn. “…Sorry,” he said. “I’m sure you don’t mean to pry into anybody’s business.”

Sei gave a relieved, satisfied smile. <Now. Since protecting the confidentiality of your skills is of such great importance, I’m offering you a means by which to speak more securely with Ms. Yorke.>

“And what would that be?” Solonn asked.

<This.> There was a brief flash of light in Sei’s eyes.

<Well? What do you think?> Morgan asked.

<What do I think of… Hey! How are you using telepathy?> Solonn asked—then, with a jolt, he realized that he, too, was speaking telepathically.

<Sei. She’s connected us via her own mind,> Morgan explained. <That way, we can talk with each other without anyone figuring out that… well, that we can talk with each other, get it?>

<…I think so,> Solonn said, still somewhat bewildered at the notion of being able to communicate in a psychic fashion. There was something about it that made him feel oddly powerful yet at the same time rather vulnerable, as well. He wondered if he would have agreed to try this method of communication if he had known beforehand that it would involve his mind being opened and shared in such a way.

<This method of conversing is undetectable to humans,> Sei told Solonn then, <and it’s the humans from whom you should be most concerned with protecting your secret. You see, pokémon who are able to speak to and be understood by humans are quite rare, and humans often look upon rarity as something from which they can gain some form of personal profit. If certain humans learned of your abilities, they would seek to exploit you for their own ends. I can guarantee you that you would not find such exploitation to your liking.>

Solonn cast a troubled gaze at Morgan. <Is this true?> he asked. Morgan had come across to him as trustworthy, but now Solonn found himself wondering if she was merely a rare exception in a species which generally could not be trusted.

<Yes,> Morgan said, sounding rather ashamed. <Solonn, I would never want to see you exploited like that.>

<Well, I wouldn’t want that, either,> he said, shuddering slightly. He turned toward Sei. <Okay. I’ll accept your method,> he said. <Thanks.>

<Think nothing of it,> the alakazam said, and with that she severed the psychic connection between herself and the other two.

The method by which Solonn could converse securely with Morgan that Sei had just made available was a welcome convenience indeed. As Solonn thought about it, something dawned on him: he wondered if the telepathic link could be used to enable Morgan to communicate with her other pokémon. After all, Sei’s telepathic abilities could trick the minds of those conversing into hearing words they understood, thus eliminating the language barrier between Morgan and her pokémon. Why hasn’t Sei offered this to the other pokémon? Solonn wondered silently.

To Solonn’s surprise, Sei turned her gaze upon him and then shrugged her plated shoulders. “Because they never asked,” she said simply, using her natural voice this time, speaking to Solonn in alakazam language. The snorunt only stared at her in response, apparently not knowing quite how to reply to her statement.

Sei then let out a long sigh. <Whew… It seems I’ve still got a bit of recovering to do before I’m quite up to speed again…>

“You want to return to your ball for a while?” Morgan asked her.

<Mmm… yes, I think so,> Sei answered. <I could do with a little time out of this poor, downtrodden flesh,> she added with a laugh.

Morgan chuckled. “All right, then.” She removed an ultra ball from her belt and recalled Sei with a beam of red light. The alakazam smiled wearily at Solonn before dissolving into energy and being drawn into her ball.

“I just don’t understand how anybody could stand being inside one of those things,” Solonn said with a small shudder, eying the ultra ball as it was minimized and reattached to Morgan’s belt. “It’s just so… ” He trailed off, unable to come up with a truly fitting description of what it was like in the great ball.

“So, you really don’t like being in a ball, huh?” Morgan asked. Solonn made a small, negatory noise in response. “Well, okay. You don’t have to go back in there if you don’t want to.”

Solonn smiled at her. He was sure that with no need to dread a return to the great ball, the time that remained to be spent here with Morgan would be much easier to endure—and perhaps even enjoy.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 04:29 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

Several hours later, Solonn stood outside with Morgan and Sei Salma in the backyard. Though evening was approaching, the sun was still hot enough and bright enough to bother Solonn. Sunlight differed from the artificial light inside the house; it possessed its own peculiar kind of harshness, even in lower quantities.

There wasn’t much that Solonn could really do about the heat, but he did at least have one option that might make him able to more easily to tolerate the lighting. He made his way across the yard at once to stand in the shade of the large sitrus tree that stood tall in the backyard. Much better, he thought with satisfaction.

Morgan and Sei crossed the lawn to join Solonn. Sei promptly took a seat, leaning back contentedly against the trunk of the tree and opening a magazine. Meanwhile, Morgan came to stand before the snorunt, and then presented a small, cylindrical plastic case. She opened the container and produced a cyan-colored disc from it.

<I’ll bet you’re wondering what this is, huh?> Morgan said, making use of Sei’s telepathy. <Well, this is a technical machine, Solonn. From it, you can gain a new technique.>

An elemental technique being obtained from a little plastic disc. It wasn’t the most ridiculous concept Solonn had ever heard of, although it did come very close.

<Now, we may not even need to use this,> Morgan continued. <Let’s find out if we do… Solonn, could you show me the strongest ice-type technique you know?>

<The strongest? I guess that would be this.> Solonn called on the power of his element. The glow of his eyes intensified momentarily as he gathered the ice-type energy that he would need for the technique. A second later, the elemental charge coalesced between his hands, then fired forth as a jagged, electric blue beam that blasted a flurry of frozen leaves and twigs from the branches above as it streaked off toward the sky.

<Ice beam, huh? Okay, then it looks like we will need to use this.> Morgan knelt before Solonn, then popped open a compartment on one end of the technical machine case and slipped the disc inside. <There’s another, stronger ice technique that you’ll need to pull off your routine,> she said as she closed the compartment once more. <You’ll get that technique from this.>

Solonn eyed the case with uncertainty, his gaze caught and held by the lens that seemed to stare right back at him from the end of the case that faced him. <…This won’t hurt, will it?>

<No, it doesn’t hurt,> Sei said reassuringly. <I’ve received one myself. It’ll be a funny feeling, but one that won’t last long. You have nothing to fear from it.>

<Oh. Go ahead, then,> Solonn permitted Morgan.

With a quick nod of acknowledgment, Morgan set about activating the technical machine, bringing the lens to bear on Solonn’s forehead and pressing a button on the top of the case. It whirred to life, but apart from that nothing seemed to be happening at first—the beam projected by the case was invisible, and its initial impact was intangible.

Then, with a rather strong shudder, Solonn found himself overwhelmed by a sudden surge of power. The feeling was similar to that which accompanied the summoning of certain of his ice-type techniques, only it was stronger and seemed to all go straight to his head rather than spreading throughout his entire body. It escalated into a giddying rush, and when it reached its abrupt end, he found himself feeling incredibly lightheaded.

Solonn teetered comically for a moment, nearly falling onto his butt before managing to shake himself out of his dizzy spell. <That was weird,> he remarked. <So, that’s it? That’s all it took?>

<Mmm-hmm. You’ve just learned the blizzard technique,> Morgan confirmed as she removed the now spent and colorless disc from the front compartment and set it aside. <Go on, try it out—but be careful where you aim it, though; it can be pretty nasty.>

<…Wait, blizzard?! Are you serious?> Solonn asked incredulously. Morgan nodded, smiling brightly. Solonn was momentarily stupefied. It just seemed all too incredible that a simple disc could bestow any sort of power upon him, but to think that it had just given him one of the highest powers of his element…

Remaining slightly skeptical, Solonn nonetheless gave his new technique a try. Once again, he gathered elemental energy. He felt a sizable thrill as the surge of power defied his expectations and answered his summons, then manifested itself in a blast of icy wind and snow.

As the blizzard howled forth, Solonn realized with a jolt of horror that he’d forgotten to aim the attack—its present course, he realized, might well result in a decent-sized hole being blown in the Yorkes’ back fence by the fierce ice technique. Fortunately, though, the blizzard was rather underpowered, and as a result the mini-snowstorm petered out before it could wreak havoc on the fence.

Solonn stared briefly at the small pile of snow that now sat contrastingly upon the green grass, watching as it began to melt in the heat of the June afternoon. That thing actually worked… He then laughed to himself, pleasantly bewildered.

<Not bad,> Morgan remarked. <That was just a little one, but with practice, you should be able to pull off a much more impressive blizzard. And wait ‘til you see what you can do when you combine that with other techniques!>

<You can actually do that?> Solonn asked, intrigued. He had never seen multiple techniques used in combination, not even by the glalie.

<Oh yes,> Morgan said. <In fact, artful combination of techniques is what contests are really all about. A good, creative, graceful presentation is what comes out on top every time. Now,> she went on, opening the technical machine case once more, <there’s another one of these that you won’t necessarily need, but it could still do you some good. Do you want to go ahead and take it now, or do you want to wait a little while before you take another one?>

Solonn considered the matter for a moment. He decided that there was really no reason to turn down this offer to gain a new technique. He determined also that a delay in accepting it meant a delay in training. The more training he could get in before the twenty-fifth, he figured, the better his chances of getting that first ribbon and thus taking that first step toward his return to Virc-Dho. Hence, he decided that he would not wait.

<I’ll take it,> he told Morgan. <Let’s do this now.>

The human nodded in acknowledgment and pulled another technical machine from the case, a fuchsia-colored disc this time. Solonn watched as the disc was loaded into the front compartment and activated, wondering what sort of new power it would impart upon him as he anticipated the rush of technical acquisition once more.

The process of absorbing this technique felt quite different than the acquisition of blizzard had. The sensation of connecting with the raw power of his element was absent—it was not an ice-type technique that was being bestowed upon him this time. Solonn could not even begin to guess the alien element of his new power, for the rush in his head that accompanied its acquisition was gone almost as swiftly as it had come.

<So what technique did that one give me?> Solonn asked once the sensation of learning the new ability was gone completely.

<Light screen,> Morgan answered. <It’s mostly a defensive technique, but there are also some pretty cool things you can do with it that are just for show. Try and call one up now,> she suggested. <It’s not as difficult or powerful a move as blizzard, so you should be able to pull it off now pretty easily.>

<Okay.> Seeking the new, unfamiliar element within him, Solonn found the root of his new power, then called forth his new technique. There was a peculiar but not unpleasant sensation that tingled very briefly in his head. Then he saw a bright pink aura form around each of his hands. He watched with fascination as it spread out very swiftly from them into a force field that surrounded him completely.

<Wow… this is pretty neat…> Solonn said as he gazed upon the wall of psychic energy that now surrounded him. <Wait, though… how do I get out of this thing?> he wondered aloud.

<Oh, you don’t have to get out of it. You’re not trapped in one place by that thing. It’ll follow you as you move,> Morgan said.

Solonn decided to test that claim for himself. Sure enough, as he walked across the lawn, the shield that surrounded him maintained itself and remained with him through his every movement. Then, unexpectedly, the light screen simply vanished.

<What happened?> Solonn asked.

<A light screen can only stay up for a couple of minutes at a time,> Morgan explained.

<Oh. So are there any more of these I can use?> Solonn asked then with a glance at the case.

<I’m afraid not. Nearly all of the techniques you’ll be using come naturally to you—your routine will mostly be ice-based. Anyway, it’s not really very good for you to learn so many of these moves in one sitting. You could get a nasty headache,> Morgan said.

Solonn found himself rather disappointed to hear that he would apparently not be gaining any more new abilities anytime soon. <Well, okay, then,> he said. <So now what?>

<Hmm. Right now, I’d say, nothing,> Morgan replied. <You’ve really had enough excitement for one day. You may not feel like it right now, but physically, you’ve just had quite an experience. You’ve instantly learned two moves that usually take pokémon several years and lots of hard work to learn. Give it a little while, and you’ll probably start feeling pretty tired. So let’s just take it easy for the rest of the day, all right?>

Solonn nodded in assent. In truth, he would have liked to go ahead and continue preparing for the upcoming contest, but his energy seemed to have begun to wane from the moment that Morgan had said it would do so.

<Your training will really start tomorrow,> the human then told him. <You see, there are three rounds to each contest. Each one is different, so you’ll be training in different ways.

<For the first round, we’ll just go out on stage along with all the other contestants, and the audience will basically just compare all the pokémon contestants based solely on their looks, and they’ll all vote on which one they think looks the best. You don’t really have to train for that; the pokéblocks pretty much take care of that aspect.

<The second round will be your solo performance. This is where you’ll be showing your techniques, combining them to make nice effects, et cetera. Don’t worry too much about it—you’ll be rehearsing your routine plenty every day. You’ll get it down just fine.

<Now, the third round is a battle,> Morgan told him. <Have you ever battled another pokémon before? You know, just for fun.>

<Yeah,> Solonn answered, <but not very much, though.> He recalled the matches that Zilag and a few of his friends had often held just for sport against one another. They had never really seriously hurt each other; they’d mostly just wrestled, with only the occasional, half-hearted bite or headbutt thrown in here and there. Ice-type techniques had also sometimes been thrown around in those matches, to little effect, of course. On several occasions, Zilag had invited Solonn to take part in this sport, but Solonn had only occasionally obliged. By and large, Solonn had been unenthusiastic about the sport, even though he did sometimes win those matches. As far as he’d been concerned, it had merely been something to do in the event that there’d been absolutely nothing else to do. It hadn’t exactly been his idea of “fun”.

<That’s okay,> Morgan assured him. <Some experience is better than none. Besides which, contest battling is really not the same as battling anywhere else. Your goal won’t be to hurt the opponent so much as to upstage them. You don’t even necessarily have to ‘beat’ the other guy as long as you manage to look better during the match. I’ll let you practice battling against a couple of the others here. Raze’d definitely be up for it—don’t worry, she won’t use any steel moves on you. Her style’s a little different than the one you’ll be using, but you’ll still get the gist of how to handle yourself in one of these matches. All you have to do is to keep your poise and battle with grace.>

Solonn nodded in acknowledgment, mentally reviewing what Morgan had told him that he could expect. It seemed that there was more involved with being a contest pokémon than he had initially imagined. He hoped that the span of time separating him from that first contest would be sufficient for him to adequately prepare himself for this first task that lay before him. The sooner he could get that first ribbon, that first step behind him, the better.

* * *

Each day that followed brought diligent training. Solonn spent many hours rehearsing his solo performance and practiced battling techniques with Raze and even once with Sei Salma. He also continued to receive two pokéblocks each day until Morgan told him that he had received the maximum benefit possible from the little candies, meaning that there was no point in giving him any more of them.

Solonn had assumed that these measures were the only ones that would need to be taken in order to prepare him for his debut. However, there came a night five days before the date of the next contest when one last suggestion was offered to him with the claim that it could improve his chances of winning.

He was sitting on Morgan’s bed, waiting for her to return from an errand. When the human returned to her room, the first thing she did was to take a capture ball from her belt, maximize it, and release Oth from within it.

“All right,” Morgan said to the claydol. “It’s time for you to check him out and see if he’s ready.” She gestured at Solonn.

Ready for what? Solonn wondered what in the world could possibly be going on as Oth brought itself before him. Without any form of explanation or warning, the foremost of the claydol’s eyes dilated dramatically, and a pale red beam lanced forth from it and struck Solonn. The snorunt almost cried out but then realized a split-second later that there was no pain. Very puzzled, he merely stared at Oth as it expanded the beam and swept it up and down over his body.

Mere seconds later, Oth ceased its scan, terminating the beam of light. It turned toward Morgan (which seemed strange to Solonn given the fact that surrounded by eyes as Oth was, that action was not really necessary) and nodded as well as a claydol could manage, inclining its entire body slightly in her direction.

Morgan smiled. “Good news, Solonn. Ominous says you’re ready.”

“That’s nice, but ready for what?” Solonn asked in a quiet voice. He and Morgan had decided that it was safe enough to converse openly while within Morgan’s room so long as they kept their voices down. Solonn had also decided, though not at all hastily, that Morgan’s other pokémon could be trusted with his secret, and so he didn’t mind Oth’s presence there as he spoke with the human.

“Ready… for this!” Morgan reached into her pocket, extracted something from it, and held it out in her hand for Solonn to see. Nestled in her palm was something small in a blue wrapper. “I’d been looking around town for one, and I finally managed to scare one up.”

Solonn gazed at the proffered object for a moment, then turned a questioning gaze up toward Morgan.

“This,” Morgan explained, “is a rare candy. These give pokémon something of a boost. According to Ominous…” Morgan paused as a thrill of excitement flitted visibly across her features. “Well, this’ll give you just enough of a boost to make a huge difference. With this… you could evolve.”

Solonn’s eyes widened. “…That thing can’t possibly cause evolution!” he said, laughing.

“Oh, yes it can. So what do you say? Are you ready to do this?” Morgan asked.

Solonn hesitated to answer. Part of him still couldn’t believe that evolution could be induced by a piece of candy, but the part of him that did believe was possessed of a fair share of apprehension. “Is there any particular reason why I need to evolve?”

“Well, you don’t necessarily have to do it, but it might work out to your advantage to go through with it,” Morgan said. “Your routine is based almost exclusively on your ice-type powers, after all, and glalie have more finely-tuned abilities where their element is concerned. They can handle ice-type techniques more easily than snorunt can.”

Solonn agreed with that point; he knew it from experience. Members of his species did not truly come into their ice-type abilities until they achieved evolution. Among other purposes, the glalie of Virc-Dho used their greater elemental prowess to keep their unevolved counterparts in check.

He had no doubt that he certainly could execute his routine with greater ease as a glalie, and he was certainly concerned with succeeding in the upcoming contest. Still… this was a physical transformation that was being suggested. This was not something to be taken lightly—particularly not where his kind were concerned. Snorunt who evolved too early in life ran the risk of being corrupted by incomplete instincts, becoming feral or even wicked as had happened to glalie like Kashisha. Furthermore, the changes involved with transformation into a glalie were such that it was almost like a change into a different species altogether. Those of his kind were born as snow-eating bipeds who could become limbless, floating predators.

“The choice is yours, Solonn,” Morgan told him gently. “I won’t make you evolve if you don’t want to.”

So… am I really ready to evolve? Solonn asked himself silently. Well… technically, I probably am, he answered himself. He was indeed at about the age that his people considered the safest and most appropriate time to start considering evolution. In fact, once they got to be very much older than he was now, they found themselves actually having to make a conscious effort to stop the process from simply occurring on its own. So Solonn was old enough to evolve, and hence there wasn’t much of a risk of corruption.

But… do I really want to go through with this now?

Solonn couldn’t answer that question, though he tried. He wished that he had been given more time to consider this rather than having such a major decision dropped on him out of nowhere at nearly the last minute. In the end, he could only lower his gaze and sigh in response.

“You don’t want to do it, do you?” Morgan asked. Solonn shook his head vaguely in response. “That’s okay, Solonn. That’s perfectly fine.”

“Okay.” Solonn’s eyes followed the rare candy as it was returned to Morgan’s pocket. “Hey. Hold on to that. Just… you know, for whenever.”

Morgan nodded in acknowledgment. “Sure thing. If you ever decide that you want it, just let me know. Do you want back in the ball?” Morgan then asked Oth. The claydol nodded in its curious fashion and was subsequently recalled.

“All right, then,” Morgan said. “Now, don’t worry about your decision, okay? Like I said, you don’t really have to evolve to do this. You’ll do just fine.”

Solonn sincerely hoped that Morgan was right.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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In what felt to Solonn like no time at all, the twenty-fifth had arrived. All at once, the task at hand was upon him, and he was swept up by it into a situation that, as it came to be, made him realize that nothing could have truly, completely prepared him for it.

Next thing he knew, he found himself riding for the very first time in an automobile. As he gazed out through the window, the view before him of the scenery rushing by mirrored his perceptions of this experience. Hurtling irresistibly forward through these moments, he scarcely had a chance to take it all in.

The vehicle came to a halt, and as he was unbuckled from his seat and brought out into the parking lot, Lilycove’s contest hall seemed to blossom into being before him right out of thin air. It was huge, and it loomed larger still with each step that brought him closer to its entrance.

Ushered gently through the front doors by his coordinator, Solonn immediately found himself almost intoxicated by the sheer level of activity within the contest hall’s lobby. All around him, humans of wildly varying appearance stood, accompanied by pokémon partners the likes of which Solonn could have never conceived.

Morgan led him into a queue, and there they waited for their turn at the desk that sat at the front of the line. After a fairly short wait, they made it to the desk, where the receptionist asked Morgan to present her contest pass. Complying at once, Morgan produced a card and handed it to the human behind the desk. The receptionist held on to the pass for a few seconds; Solonn couldn’t see what she was doing with it, for the desk exceeded his height.

When the receptionist gave the pass back to Morgan, she took a moment to peer over the edge of the desk at the pokémon who accompanied Morgan. “Oh, now isn’t that a cutie,” she remarked airily, flashing a very bright smile.

Solonn returned her gaze with a slightly disgusted look. Cute? I’m not cute

“You may now proceed,” the receptionist then said. Morgan smiled at her, then led Solonn out of the lobby and toward the backstage area.

Several minutes of doing nothing but waiting followed. The other contestants were gathered along with Solonn and his coordinator, anticipating the impending events with varying degrees of patience. A television mounted in the corner showed the scene that awaited the contestants. With an incredible amount of noise and a level of enthusiasm that was almost tangible, even transmitted through that television screen, an audience was filing into the seemingly endless rows of seats and declaring their eagerness for the show to begin.

The spectators’ wait was not prolonged much further. The voice of the announcer came blaring forth, the audience quieting somewhat while he spoke.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” boomed his greatly magnified voice, “get ready to witness the hottest up-and-coming faces in the Hoenn contest circuit! The normal rank beauty contest shall now begin!”

“It’s time,” Morgan informed Solonn in an excited whisper, then began guiding him before her as they made their way to the stage in an orderly procession along with all the other contestants.

As Solonn emerged onto the stage, he was greeted by an unbelievable level of light and noise. The number of humans gathered just to look upon him and the other contestants was staggering—Solonn had never seen so many people in any one place before.

He had not expected that the spectators would be quite that many in number…

The coordinators and their pokémon partners formed an orderly line across the stage, facing the audience. One by one, the announcer stopped before each team and introduced them, then moved on down the line to the next team. Before long, he arrived at Solonn and Morgan.

“Next up, hailing from right here in Lilycove, it’s Morgan Yorke and her snorunt, Solonn!” the announcer said. Just as had greeted the introduction of each team before, a peal of applause rose up for Solonn and Morgan. Part of Solonn wondered what they were applauding, exactly; neither he nor any of the other contestants had actually done anything yet, after all.

“Now it’s time for you to cast your votes,” the announcer told the audience after introducing the last few contestants. “Who will make it to the next round? You decide!”

Solonn found himself unable to count the moments that passed as the audience cast their votes. His awareness of being scrutinized by innumerable eyes only intensified now that that was quite literally what they were doing. He did not see that on a colossal screen behind him, a close-up view of each of the pokémon in turn was presented to the audience—he might have been surprised, to say the least, to see a gigantic image of his own face staring back at him.

Finally, the votes were all tallied, and the results appeared on the screen behind the contestants, who all turned to see who among them would proceed to the next round.

“Look!” Morgan exclaimed. “There we are!” She pointed to the upper right corner of the screen; Solonn saw that he and Morgan were indeed pictured there. They had made it through the first round. With that obstacle out of the way, Solonn followed Morgan with a funny little detached sort of thrill as they and the other contestants returned backstage to get ready for the second round.

The small television backstage presented Solonn with a view of the performances of the contestants who had been slated to go on before him. For a crop of newcomers, their performances were generally quite competent; none of them thus far had made any mistakes in their routines, at least not as far as Solonn could tell. He found a few of the performances to be not very exciting despite their technical integrity and correctness of form, but there were a couple of the others that really stood out.

Those performances easily held Solonn’s rapt attention—and also managed to stoke the doubt within him further. As the last of the performances preceding his own turn on stage came to a close, he found himself attended by an unbidden question of whether or not he had truly, sufficiently prepared himself for this.

That question followed Solonn out onto the stage as he was called forth. It was much darker as he emerged this time than it had been during the first round, but he could still see the crowd, could still make out all those faces. Solonn had been told what to expect since his training had begun, yet Morgan’s descriptions of what this experience would be like seemed awfully weak and ill-fitting when held against this moment, these surroundings, the expectations held by all these people for whom he now had to perform…

He came to stand in the center of the stage, and a single, bright spotlight fell upon him as the music that Morgan had chosen to accompany his routine rose up, seeming to emanate from the very walls of the contest hall itself. Under the ray of white light bearing down upon him, he felt overemphasized to dimensions far greater than his own, yet at the same time also all too aware of just how small an entity he was compared to the vast, scrutinizing crowd.

A moment later, the spell of the spotlight abated enough to allow Solonn to realize that he had missed his cue. With a jolt, he hurriedly cast the hail technique up into the air above him. The summoned hailstones began falling at once, but at twice the normal intensity and not at all in the pattern he had rehearsed—it was fortunate that this was a solo performance, for had Morgan accompanied Solonn on stage for this round, she would have had to take cover from his bungled first move.

Solonn winced inwardly at the mistake and tried desperately to make some sort of recovery with his next move. He called upon powder snow and felt the most infinitesimal relief as it bowed to his will according to plan, its winds sweeping up the falling hail in a gently turning, tamed cyclone. Solonn’s creation partly obscured his view of the audience, for which he felt a wave of gratitude spread throughout his nerves. However, he knew that with his next maneuver, he would have no choice but to forfeit that comforting veil of ice and snow.

Sighing softly, Solonn kept the powder snow blowing as he slowly expanded the vortex of snowflakes and hailstones around himself while the music began to swell in a slow crescendo. The winds swept around him in a growing spiral, and as the cyclone widened and thinned out, the multitude of humans before him filled his sights once more.

Don’t pay attention to them, Solonn urged himself silently, just pretend they’re not there… He fought against an urge to close his eyes as tightly as he could and shut out the sight of the audience, for he knew that showing signs of his anxiety could count against him in the judges’ eyes. He was also finding himself dealing with a burgeoning desire to simply cut his performance short and run.

Trying with a growing desperation to keep a hold of the fraying ends of his nerves lest they unravel completely, he called upon the next element of his routine—the one which had given him cause for doubt at several points during the course of his training. He still couldn’t believe that he had gained one of the highest powers of his element in a single moment’s rush that one afternoon, disbelief that had caused him to struggle all the more in his efforts to master the technique.

Incredible though it still seemed to Solonn that he even possessed that ability, the fact remained that he did indeed possess it and was required by his routine to execute it adroitly. Don’t think about what you’re doing, he tried to remind himself, just do it… At the music’s cue, Solonn executed his strongest technique, unleashing a blizzard to join his dancing cyclone.

The blizzard howled forth, stirring the spiraling snowstorm into a frenzy as it was meant to do… but then, most disobligingly, its winds began to falter. Solonn swore that he could feel his heart fall utterly still as the blizzard, along with the other elements of the cyclone that had woven themselves into its winds, petered out right before his eyes. As if in slow motion, snowflakes, sleet, and hailstones alike all fell to the stage.

No… Solonn lamented silently. He was all too certain that his chance to obtain the ribbon and thereby surmount the first step toward his return to Virc-Dho had died along with his enchanted snowstorm. The elements of his musical accompaniment suddenly bled and merged into a formless din in his ears, while the spotlight seemed to swell to an abnormal brightness for a moment before being swallowed up in a sudden, all-consuming darkness, taking the stage, the audience, the surrounding noise, and Solonn’s consciousness along with it.


Next time: Solonn faces a decision that stands to change his life forever… See you then!

- Sike Saner

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The Origin of Storms

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 04:37 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:33 AM
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Chapter 5 – Elements Embraced

Solonn awoke several hours later, but he was unaware of how much time had passed since his failure within the contest hall. His eyes opened to a view of Morgan’s room, which was more dimly lit than usual, the only source of artificial light presently in use being a lamp sitting on the bedside table.

With a hazy delay, he noted that he had been placed on Morgan’s bed. He was presently lying at the foot of the bed with a small, thin blanket draped over the lower half of his body. The blanket was slightly itchy and created a bit more warmth than he liked, but he made no immediate move to displace it.

His most recent memories gathered within his mind to bear down upon him in the present. The haze of the aftermath of his unconsciousness gave way to focus, provoking him into consciously and actively musing on his failure. Again and again, he mentally replayed the scene of his botched performance, earnestly wondering what had happened to him up on that stage, trying to figure out why first his routine and then he himself had fallen apart before the audience.

Because you weren’t ready, he silently answered himself at last.

I should have been… he countered internally. But he knew better, really. He had not been ready. He had not taken adequate time to prepare himself for his first performance. He had been in such a rush to get that first step toward home behind him, and it was because of that haste that his goal now lay further away.

You should have waited until the later contest to try and get that ribbon, he admonished himself. Now you’re just going to have to wait anyway.

In that sense, perhaps, no harm done. He could indeed just try again in two months, which would give him the extra time to train that he probably should have taken the first time around before trying for a ribbon.

However, as Solonn continued to muse on his failure, he couldn’t help but wonder if his next performance wouldn’t just end up suffering the same fate as his first had even with another two months’ worth of preparation for it. After all, wouldn’t the audience be every bit as large as it had been the time before? Wouldn’t he be just as alone and exposed on that stage, with not only the spotlight but also all of those innumerable human eyes focused upon him?

Solonn groaned, feeling a mix of annoyance and disappointment toward himself for the way he had so easily succumbed to the pressure of his performance. You were supposed to be paying attention to what you were doing, not to the audience, he thought miserably. Morgan had even told him something along those lines during his training, and yet he had managed to lose sight of that advice right when he had needed it most.

As Solonn recalled, there had been a couple of moments during his performance, albeit woefully brief ones, in which he almost—just almost—felt as though he could just shut out all else around him and vanish into his routine. It was, he noted in recollection, a weaker version of a feeling that he had attained on a couple of occasions during his training. Through the harnessing of some of the higher powers among his ice-type abilities, he had sometimes achieved the slightest sensation of becoming one with these powers, of practically losing himself within them…

Solonn sighed as he determined that that right there was the key. To maintain command over his performance despite the vulnerability and scrutiny that awaited him on stage, he had to somehow achieve and maintain that oneness with the element that brought his routine to life.

But how? he asked of anyone and no one, silently and earnestly.

At that moment, words from only a few days prior rose from his memory. “Glalie have more finely-tuned abilities where their element is concerned,” Morgan reminded him within his mind. “They can handle ice-type techniques more easily.”

Gods… she’s right about that… Glalie could indeed perform ice techniques with considerably more ease than snorunt could—and perhaps this was not the result of having more elemental power so much as that of being closer to the power of their element…

As if rallying to the point, words from a more distant past came forth within his mind then, the words of his mother: “Our element is our very life, Solonn. We could not survive without its power, and by practicing its ways, we achieve some of the most rewarding experiences in our lives.”

So, that’s the answer, then, isn’t it? Solonn reckoned. If I evolve, maybe then I won’t lose it in the middle of my routine next time… but gods Whether or not it was a solution, even if it was the only solution, the fact remained that it was still evolution—physical, permanent change. It was an irrevocable choice; if he came to regret it, there would be no way for it to be undone.

Furthermore, he didn’t know what he could even expect from the process itself. Having never evolved before, he had no sure idea of what it would actually be like. He had once asked his mother about it, but she had told him that she could not adequately describe it. Azvida had also tried to assure him that the process usually did not hurt, which was no real comfort—especially not with the presence of that nasty little “usually”.

Solonn could not deny that he still viewed the prospect of evolution with apprehension. However… he considered also the notion of enduring a performance that was a repeat of the last one… and he realized that that was something that he actually feared more. It seemed now to have come down to a decision between facing either evolution or the possibility of another failure in the contest halls. Between the two, he found that it was actually the latter that he would rather not risk.

Solonn sat up, finally bothering as he did so to cast off the uncomfortable blanket. For minutes, he sat there, staring at his hands as he tried to let his decision settle within his mind. He figured that Morgan would likely return soon, and he felt that he had to be ready to inform her of his decision as soon as he possibly could.

Just as Solonn had managed to get himself to stop counting the passing seconds that delayed the moment of truth, the door to the bedroom opened slowly with barely a creak. As if possessed of a notion that she had to sneak into her own room, Morgan at first allowed only her face to cross the threshold, peering in cautiously. Then, slowly and silently, she allowed the rest of her body to slip into the room, closing the door almost noiselessly behind her.

It was later than it had quite seemed, Solonn realized then; Morgan was dressed for bed. He hoped that Morgan wouldn’t mind being kept awake for this purpose, especially since he was not at all sure that he could maintain his resolve through the night.

Inhaling very deeply, Solonn turned to face the human who still hovered cautiously just inside the doorway. “Get it out,” he said with false calmness.

Morgan stared in bewilderment at Solonn, a bit startled by the way he suddenly spoke up, not quite processing what he’d said. “…Get what out?”

“The candy, Morgan,” Solonn said, maintaining an even tone with an effort. “It’s time.”

Morgan blinked in utter surprise for a moment. “Oh,” she said, an unmistakable look of worry forming on her face. “…Now?”

Solonn nodded slowly. “I’m sure you would rather go to sleep, but…”

“No, that’s okay,” Morgan assured him, though she did sound a bit shaken. She made her way over to a small dresser, opened its topmost drawer, and rummaged through its contents a bit before she managed to find what she was seeking.

She began to lift the rare candy out from the drawer, but then hesitated. “Solonn… are you sure you’re really ready for this?”

“Yes. I’m ready,” Solonn said without inflection, inwardly cursing the human’s choice of words—few phrases in existence bred as much doubt in him as “are you sure” could. The snorunt’s eyes stayed fixed upon Morgan. His stare was steady for the most part, his eyes nearly unblinking, but their light was beginning to pulsate and flicker unsteadily, betraying the presence of at least some trepidation within him.

“You just seem awfully nervous,” Morgan said concernedly.

Solonn made a slight, dismissive noise. “It’s really nothing. Everyone gets nervous right before they evolve,” he said, guessing rather than actually knowing this. "It’s not exactly a minor thing, you know.”

“No, it isn’t,” Morgan concurred. “But if you’re sure you’re ready… well, here goes nothing, I guess…” She unwrapped the rare candy and brought it to Solonn, placing it in his hand. “There. Just eat that, and the rest should follow.”

Solonn gave a quick nod. He looked down at the little pink candy that now sat in his hand… and kept on looking.

“Are you gonna go ahead, then?” Morgan asked.

Solonn snapped out of his temporary mind-freeze. “Huh? Oh… right.” He furrowed his brow at the rare candy, continuing to stare down at it but making no further move toward it other than to give it a small poke with his other hand.

“I don’t blame you at all for being nervous, you know? I’m pretty nervous right now, myself,” Morgan admitted.

Solonn had already figured as much, aware of the hammering of both of their hearts. He gave her a little smile in an effort to ease some of the tension that he and Morgan shared but knew that the corners of his mouth were shaking as he did so.

Just get it over with! urged a voice in the back of his mind. Fighting in vain to still the trembling of his hand, he raised the rare candy to his mouth. His jaws were very reluctant to part, but he finally pried them open just enough to shove the candy in, barely bothering to chew it or to enjoy its somewhat sweet flavor before rushing it down his throat.

There, he consoled himself silently, the “voice” of his mind seeming to tremble just as much as his body was doing. Now, just try to relax and wait for it to happen…

Nothing happened.

Moment after moment passed, and still the candy just sat there in his stomach, doing nothing whatsoever to alter his state of being. He felt absolutely no change from how he had felt prior to consuming the rare candy. The “boost” of which Morgan had spoken was completely absent, as were any feelings that would even remotely suggest that he was going to turn into a glalie anytime soon.

“Guess you and Oth weren’t right about me after all,” Solonn said finally.

“Guess not,” Morgan said with a sigh. “It’s just hard to believe, though. Oth was so sure, and it knows from such things… Are you sure you don’t feel any different?”

“No difference at all,” Solonn replied.

“It should have given you a boost, though, even if not enough of one to make you evolve,” Morgan said.

“And instead it gave me nothing.”

“Hmm… maybe you just need enough time to digest it first,” Morgan suggested.

“Hmph.” Solonn was done with having any expectations for the rare candy. All that it had succeeded in making him become was annoyed over having suffered all that anticipation for nothing.

Then there came the buzz.

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:06 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Default Re: Communication (PG-13)

It was a distinct tingling that radiated from the pit of his stomach and spread throughout his entire body. It felt like pure energy was flowing through his veins. A sudden, incredible sense of exhilaration flooded his brain, making his breath catch in his throat and causing his eyes to grow huge.

Morgan took notice, and her eyes widened likewise. “Are you okay?” she asked anxiously. Her eyes grew even wider. “Is it happening?”

Before Solonn could even begin to form any sort of an answer, a powerful jolt from deep within him struck him with almost no warning, taking his breath away completely. The tingling sensation that was still coursing throughout his body shifted in an instant into a strong vibration, one that intensified by the second and produced a dull ache in his bones.

His mouth opened in a silent scream as the sensations he was experiencing made a turn toward earnest pain. He stared wildly at Morgan, who now looked more terrified than excited. She could clearly see the fear and pain in his eyes. Then her face was erased from Solonn’s sight as bright light began to shine from his entire body, filling his vision with a blindingly white emptiness.

In an instant so swift that he could not possibly have marked its precise arrival or passing, Solonn went from feeling full to bursting with energy to feeling as though he were made of energy. The sensation was, in a sense, similar to that of entering a capture ball. The difference was that rather than feeling as though he had ceased to actually exist as confinement within the great ball made him feel, he instead felt as though he becoming more real, more alive.

There was no longer any pain. Distantly, as he began to rematerialize into his new form, he could sense that he was growing larger, but it didn’t quite manage to register as a truly physical sensation; he was presently not truly physical himself, after all.

Though the physical aspects of his change were mere shadows of sensations, there was another feeling present that he found overwhelming. This, he recognized with amazement and sheer elation, was the raw power of his element—and here he was, united with it in a way that made his prior experiences of closeness to his element look like the poor facsimiles of this strange, sweet union that they truly were. At last, he had truly become one with his element, and it was a wonderful sensation.

The bright, white nothingness drained at last from Solonn’s vision, allowing his surroundings to come back into focus. The first thing he saw, through eyes whose vision was much sharper than that which he had previously known, was the face of his coordinator. It was as white as snow in her awe, her eyes very wide and her mouth agape.

Solonn couldn’t blame her. Along with his sight, all of his other senses had returned, as well, giving him a full sense of what he had become. He was aware of the sheer size of his new body—he was huge. At the same time, however, he didn’t feel like he was very heavy at all.

He realized then that he had taken to hovering without even consciously trying to do so and was now suspended just above the surface of Morgan’s bed. Solonn became fascinated at once with his newly gained levitation. He moved himself for the first time in this new fashion, gliding a very short distance forward, marveling at how effortless it felt.

Solonn was instantly at home within his new form. He felt a wonderful blend of elation and immense relief wash over him and wondered how he could have ever feared to become what he now was. A contented sigh escaped him, and he began to set himself down upon the bed with a smile—but he got back up in a hurry when the bed creaked ominously beneath his now considerable weight. In doing so, he knocked his horns against the ceiling. Biting back a swear, Solonn looked up to see if his horns had damaged the ceiling and saw to his relief that they hadn’t.

Morgan laughed. “Oh God, be careful! You’re almost too big for this room, you know that?”

She wasn’t kidding. Solonn realized how fortunate it was that Morgan’s room was as large as it happened to be; he took up a sizable share of its space. If the room had been any smaller…

“Actually… you’re too big, period,” Morgan noted. “No offense, but normally, glalie don’t get quite so large; I’d expected you to be closer to my height, actually. Do you have any idea what could have made you turn out this way?”

Solonn would have shrugged were it not for the fact that he no longer possessed shoulders. “Well, uh… I’ve always been kind of tall,” he said in his new, much deeper voice, “but I have to admit, this is…” He trailed off, rather at a loss for words. He was easily half again the size of even the largest glalie he had ever seen, and he had no explanation as to why.

“You know,” Morgan said then, “this might actually be a development that could work out in our favor. The audience is likely to be impressed by your size, and so are the judges.”

“Mm. Well, that’s good to know.”

Morgan nodded. A second later, her expression suggested that something had just occurred to her. She cast a slightly uneasy glance at the doorway, then at Solonn, and then back to the doorway once more. “Hey… um, how do you suppose we’re even going to get you out of here so we can take you to the contest hall?”

Solonn gave her a puzzled look, then followed her gaze to the doorway and understood at once.

“I will never fit through there,” he said with a small, hissing chuckle. “Never again.”

“No, you won’t,” Morgan concurred, laughing.

“…The ball will, though,” Solonn noted.

Morgan frowned slightly. “Well… you are right about that, but…” She sighed. “I don’t know. I mean, I know you don’t like it in there…”

Solonn made a dismissive noise. "It’s fine. You and I both know I can’t be trapped here in this room. There’s barely any room for us both to be in here at the same time; you’d hardly be able to get around in here with me in your way. You can’t even get into your own bed with me in here.”

Morgan cast a glance backwards at where her capture ball belt was hung, from whence Solonn’s great ball gave off a slight, teal glint in the soft lamplight. “Yeah, I know,” she said, traces of guilt in her voice making her speech sound slightly awkward, “but…”

“But nothing,” Solonn said gently. “I don’t mind going in there from time to time as long as it’s only when I really have to. For now, go ahead and get some sleep, all right? I’ll go in the ball for the night, and in the morning you can just take me out to the backyard where there’s plenty of room, and I’ll just stay out there from now on.”

Morgan gave him one last look of uncertainty. “Well, as long as you’re sure you don’t mind…” she said, then went to fetch the great ball.

“Hey,” Solonn said then. Morgan turned an inquisitive gaze upon him. “…I just wanted to thank you for making this happen… I never imagined this change would be so wonderful,” he said earnestly.

“Oh…” Morgan turned her head and smiled broadly, blushing slightly. “You’re welcome,” she said. “I’m glad you’re happy with your new form.”

She raised the ball toward Solonn, preparing to activate its recall function. “Goodnight, Solonn.”

“Goodnight,” the glalie echoed. As he allowed his body to be absorbed by the capture ball, he allowed his mind to be absorbed by thoughts of what he had become and the possible ramifications of the change.

* * *

Four days after Solonn’s evolution, Morgan and Sei Salma stepped out into the backyard to join him. The former brought along with her a small, portable stereo, just as she had done on Solonn’s request each day since he had evolved.

Solonn sat serenely beneath the sitrus tree. Morgan took a seat next to him, while Sei, carrying a large stack of magazines, levitated herself up into the branches above, picking a large sitrus berry for herself as she settled into a comfortable position. Morgan then started the music with a smile.

Solonn imagined that he would never cease to be amazed by human accomplishments such as the stereo that sat nearby, what with the way that it somehow produced human voices and the widely varying sounds of their music. The music that had been chosen that day impressed him more than any other that he had heard to date. One song in particular took a peculiar hold of him; he found its instrumentation rich and its lyrics poetic.

He closed his eyes, and he swore that he could actually see the music in his mind’s eye. He visualized the music in the form of twisting, spiraling shapes that branched upward and outward, forming intricate patterns…

A sharp gasp, easily audible and discernible over the music to Solonn’s keen hearing, interrupted his reverie. A second later, the music was shut off. Solonn’s eyes opened, and a hiss of surprise escaped him at what he saw. Surrounding himself, Morgan, and Sei Salma were the shapes that he had envisioned within his mind. As if of their own accord, they had been brought out of his head and into the backyard, formed out of spontaneously generated ice.

<But… how?> Solonn asked.

<You’re a cryokinetic,> Sei said, gazing down with a smile as she munched on the sitrus berry. <Among other things, this gives you the ability to generate ice. You are also able to mentally manipulate it. All glalie have these abilities.>

<Well, yes, I knew that,> Solonn said, <but—>

<—You didn’t mean to use them,> Sei finished. <The subconscious activities of a cryokinetic can sometimes manifest themselves in a visible display, especially when said cryokinetic’s abilities first awaken. And I did not mean to read your mind there,> she added.

Solonn continued to stare, stupefied by the formations of ice that had been born of his own mind. He had created that display while being completely unaware of doing so. He had managed to lose himself in that act, just as he had lost himself in the music that had inspired it.

His gaze fell upon Morgan, who wore an awed expression as her eyes swept from one part of the ice formation to another. <Do you… do you like it?> he asked tentatively.

The human turned toward him and nodded, beaming brightly. Her finger moved over the “PLAY” button. <Keep it up. Please,> she said, then pushed the button.

The song resumed, and Solonn closed his eyes and tried to let the music absorb him once again, succeeding quite readily. For a brief moment, he wondered if continuing his cryokinetic display would not be so easy now that he was conscious of his actions, but he found that awareness of the use of this ability had no effect on its ease and enjoyability. He was still able to lose himself within his actions even though he now consciously chose them.

Solonn allowed his eyes to open and serenely watched the manifestations of ice that changed, grew and danced in time with the music. Through them, Solonn discovered the simple ecstasy of being quite literally in his element.

* * *

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:10 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:35 AM
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In the weeks that followed, Solonn underwent a far more stringent regimen of training and rehearsing than had preceded his prior contest appearance, and he did so at his request. On occasion, he had spent an entire night rehearsing his routine alone in the backyard.

“You don’t really have to work so hard,” Morgan told him more than once, but each time, Solonn insisted on continuing to rehearse to this extent.

This was partly because he was, of course, intent on making it as likely as possible that he would perform better than he had last time, but there was another motive behind his desire to devote so much time to perfecting his routine. Following that first interpretive ice display in the backyard, he and Morgan had decided to work one into his routine, even opting to replace the song to which he had performed last time with the one that had played during his first ice display. Nothing else in his prior experience compared to the sensation of oneness with his element—a sensation that he now attained every time he practiced his routine. It became a high priority of his to achieve that feeling as often as he could.

Soon, those two months of preparation were behind him, and he once again found himself onstage with his coordinator and all the other contestants in the Lilycove contest hall. The vast audience before him was in the process of voting, deciding who would and who would not make it past this first round. Solonn quickly found that he could not help but wonder what they all thought of him. Consideration of this subject had come unbidden, but he made a conscious effort to avoid being overly concerned with it.

If you can just get past this part, he told himself within his mind, then in just a short while, you can get away from all of them…

The announcement that came a minute or so later, declaring that Solonn had received a sufficiently high rating from the audience to advance to the second round, brought him a sense of relief and something else, as well: a mild but nonetheless present sort of eagerness. He was soon to be alone on that stage, performing before that huge audience… but at the same time it would also still be a chance to experience that incomparable unity with his element.

And they won’t be a part of that, he reminded himself as he departed to the backstage area with Morgan.

The television backstage showed each of the performances preceding his own, which was slated for last this time. Solonn made a point of not watching any of them, remembering well how watching the other performers in action had only intimidated him the time before.

They don’t matter, he thought resolutely. This is about something far beyond them.

Finally, the time had come. Solonn emerged onto the stage, trying as he took his place there to view it as merely a stop en route to the far better place to which he was about to go.

The lights went out completely. Nothing was visible to the crowd gathered within the auditorium except for two large, blue eyes glowing brightly from the center of the stage through the darkness. Those eyes could still see the individual human faces in the crowd quite well, more clearly than he had the time before…

They will not be part of this.

The music came alive. Very slowly, lights mounted in the stage began to emit pale blue rays. Glistening within this glow, ice began to rise in thin, vinelike shapes from the stage. They branched out and twisted as they grew slowly but steadily upward, swaying and flicking at the air in time with the music.

The many branches of the seemingly living ice curled downward and inward toward their maker and joined together beneath his hovering body, forming a cradle of sorts underneath him. The ice began to rise upward, lifting Solonn toward the ceiling.

Meanwhile, more of the thin, branchlike structures extended outward from the cradle to dance around him. They then transformed into seven long, thin needles. Atop each of them, ice was formed into the shape of a diamond.

Solonn rose slowly along with the song’s building crescendo, ascending from the ice below him as high as he could manage. He brought a protect aura around himself as he lifted himself ever higher, surrounding himself with a deep blue glow. At the apex of his ascent, his eyes suddenly blazed with a surge of white light—and so did the diamonds of ice, which then exploded one by one in time with the music in sparkling bursts of frozen mist.

As the glow of the protect aura faded, Solonn descended to the stage once more, while the level of the ice beneath him lowered as it was gradually dissipated. The music worked itself into a frenzy soon after, and accordingly Solonn summoned a miniature storm. Blizzard, icy wind and powder snow rushed in a maddened spiral around him while the blue stage lights strobed.

Then the song abruptly ended, and Solonn’s performance did likewise. The lights cut out; when they came back on a second later, there was not a trace of ice or of snow to be found anywhere. Nothing remained of the wintry spectacle save for the glalie who had made it happen.

Solonn looked out upon a silent audience as he hovered at the center of the stage, his body trembling as he breathed hard in his exhaustion. Closing his eyes, he bowed deeply, inclining his face toward the floor. Then the audience erupted into applause—Solonn was grateful for their enthusiasm, but this was one moment in which he rather wished that his evolution had not enhanced his hearing. The judges approved of his routine, as well; his score was in the top two, meaning that he would proceed to the third and final round along with just one other finalist.

Last edited by Sike Saner; 04-11-2011 at 05:13 AM. Reason: Revisions.
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Solonn was taken backstage where he had to be recalled for a moment into his great ball so that he could have his energy restored by the rejuvenation machine that was kept backstage. Second-round performances usually took a lot out of a pokémon, and Solonn’s performance was no exception; without rejuvenation, he knew, he would certainly not have the strength to perform well in the final round’s battle. Once both he and his opponent had both been rejuvenated, the third round was ready to begin.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” boomed the voice of the announcer, “we’ve seen quite a parade of truly skilled performers tonight. Now we’re down to the very best of the crop, the final two. Let’s hear it for Alex Rhodes and Kelly from Mauville and Morgan Yorke and Solonn from right here in Lilycove!”

The exuberant noise of the crowd filled the air as the finalists made their way onto the stage. Solonn took his place a couple of yards in front of Morgan and gazed across the stage at the opposing team, which consisted of a girl with long, blonde, braided hair and a golduck who was giggling to herself.

“The match will end when the clock runs out, when one pokémon’s points are entirely depleted, or when one pokémon is rendered unable to battle,” the announcer explained. ”Without any further ado, let the final round begin!” With that, a loud tone rang out over the PA system, signaling the commencement of the battle.

“All right, Solonn. Let’s show them our icy wind/ice beam combo,” Morgan said.

“Then we’ll start with psybeam and water pulse!” Alex declared.

Solonn summoned two of his ice-type abilities simultaneously. Charged with the pure elemental energy of the beam, the small, razor-edged ice particles contained within the icy wind took on a brilliant cyan glow as they rushed toward Kelly on a frigid gust.

Meanwhile, Kelly launched her own attack, continuing to giggle inexplicably as she did so. Her combination of psybeam and water pulse created a rainbow-hued ray through which glowing blue rings of water-type energy rippled.

Solonn’s attack turned out to be the stronger of the two as a result of both of the constituents of his combination being derived from his own element. The ice-type combo overtook Kelly’s attack and scattered its energies, foiling it. The shredding gale then assaulted Kelly herself. Being a water-type, she suffered very little from its charge of elemental energy, but the sharp edges of its icy shrapnel nonetheless managed to tear shallow cuts all over the golduck’s body, making her squawk in pain.

As a result of her taking the hit, Kelly’s points suffered. The bar that represented them on the scoreboard decreased in length, albeit only slightly.

“Now, let’s take some defensive measures, shall we? Light screen, Solonn,” Morgan said.

“We’ll try our psybeam and water pulse combo again, then,” Alex said. “He’s sure not to like it…”

A glowing pink force field rose around Solonn, enveloping him completely. At the same time, Kelly once again fired her psychic/water-type combination attack, which lanced forth in a rush of psychedelic colors. Solonn’s psychic shield negated the water-type aspect of Kelly’s attack, but the psybeam at the combo’s core managed to penetrate the barrier. It struck Solonn squarely between the eyes, its psychic-type energy finding its way straight into his brain in an attempt to addle his mind. Solonn snarled at the pain as he shook his head furiously to rid himself of the psychic assault. Fortunately, the attack failed to throw him into confusion, but both he and his points still took a hit.

“Okay, now give him a hydro pump!” Alex instructed her pokémon enthusiastically.

“Uh-oh… you’d better protect, Solonn,” Morgan warned.

Still giggling, Kelly summoned one of the highest powers of her element. An intense, blue glow filled her eyes, and in a massive, sudden burst, a thick, powerful jet of highly pressurized water surged forth from her open bill.

However, just as the golduck launched her water-type assault, Solonn conjured the deep blue aura of the protect technique around himself. The hydro pump dissipated spectacularly on contact with the indigo force field in a great burst of mist; the protect shield fell an instant later. Kelly’s point bar shortened further due to the utter failure of her attack.

Alex sighed. “Well, I was really hoping we wouldn’t have to resort to this, but it looks like you guys have left us little choice. Attract, Kelly!” The command elicited a particularly giddy fit of giggles from the golduck.

“What? Ah, no… protect, Solonn! Hurry!” Morgan urged. It was a gamble; she knew that a protect aura could not always be counted on to successfully form more than once in succession. However, there was simply no other hope for Solonn to avoid Kelly’s technique.

Solonn tried to bring back his protect aura, and for a very brief moment, he seemed to have succeeded. But the deep blue shield was gone a split-second later, leaving Solonn with no form of defense between him and Kelly, the latter now surrounded by a rose-colored glow. With a sweeping motion of her arms, the pink light was sent forth in a wave that washed swiftly and inescapably over Solonn.

All at once, he was rather appalled at himself. Good gods, have I seriously been attacking that? How could I have even considered doing harm to such a beautiful creature? How could anyone? A very cheesy smile crept across his face as he surveyed Kelly from across the stage. Look at her, over there… so elegant… so exotic… those eyes… that tail! He chuckled softly. She totally wants me. I can tell.

Morgan cast an uneasy glance at the scoreboard as Solonn’s points suffered both from his failed protect technique and his succumbing to Kelly’s attract technique. “Solonn!” Morgan shouted. “Listen to me: you have got to keep your head! She doesn’t love you, and you don’t really love her. It’s just a trick, Solonn! Now, quickly, hit her with a blizzard/icy wind combo before she can take advantage of you!”

Solonn smirked. Oh, she can take advantage of me any time she wants… He ignored Morgan’s instructions, simply refusing to attack the suddenly and inexplicably sexy golduck on the other side of the stage.

Silly human… Kelly is totally into me, it’s so obvious… Solonn thought. He sighed. I’ll have her. Soon. Oh yes…

Kelly, meanwhile, was giggling her brains out louder than ever. It was a wonder that she even heard her coordinator’s next command, which was to blast Solonn with a hydro pump while he was still dopily goggling at her. But she heard indeed, and she didn’t hesitate for even a second to launch her attack upon her infatuated opponent.

The water-type blast came hurtling toward Solonn. Oh, how pretty… he remarked silently and vacantly as it approached…

With a loud crash and a veritable explosion of water on impact, the hydro pump struck Solonn powerfully, blasting him with such force that he was nearly sent flying on a collision course with his coordinator. Solonn’s points decreased greatly—they were now perilously low.

Righting himself with some difficulty, Solonn gasped wildly for air in the wake of the hydro pump. In the next instant, the light screen he had summoned finally faded away. Had it not still been present when the hydro pump had struck, Solonn might not have been able to get back up following that attack.

Hey… that wasn’t very nice… Solonn thought dazedly as he fought to catch his breath. I thought she liked me! He decided to go over to Kelly and ask her why she had done that.

“No, Solonn, don’t get closer!” Morgan tried urgently to warn him. “That’ll just make it easier for her to blast you!”

No way! She’d never blast me! Solonn objected internally, seeming to have forgotten the fact that Kelly had done just that mere moments ago. She loves me!

And then something clicked in his brain: Wait… no, she doesn’t…

“All right, Kelly, let’s finish him off now,” Alex called out, sounding very pleased with the current situation. “Surf!”

“Come on, Solonn!” Morgan urged. “Cut through her tricks and stop her with a blizzard/ice beam combo! Come on, I know you can snap out of it!”

As it so happened, Solonn already had.

Kelly’s giggles rose up into a sharp, triumphant quack of a laugh. She closed her eyes, then clasped her hands together and lifted them toward the ceiling. There was a brief, blue shimmer of water-type energy at her feet, followed by a pillar of water that began to rise from the stage beneath her. She inhaled deeply just before the rising water engulfed her. The pillar lifted her from the stage and up through itself as it rose, ready to surge forth at any instant. Even as Kelly was still rising up through the wave toward the position where she would ride it over her opponent, the summoned wall of water suddenly lurched forward toward its target.

Solonn’s eyes blazed with bluish-white light as his gaze fixed itself firmly on the burgeoning wave. As the water surged toward him, he threw his jaws wide open, and a narrow, highly concentrated blast of wind, ice, and snow exploded forth with raw ice-type energy crackling through it like lightning.

The combination attack roared as it rushed through the air, intercepting Kelly’s attack swiftly. With a series of cracking sounds, the ice-type blast froze the summoned wave around the golduck. Only the spiked crown of feathers atop her head had crested the wave before the water had frozen; not desiring to smother Kelly to death, Solonn quickly shifted the part of the frozen wave that surrounded her into the shape of a hollow sphere around her.

“Oh crap! Kelly, you’ve got to get out of there!” Alex cried.

Kelly was already trying to escape her icy prison. She clawed frantically at the frozen walls with her fury swipes technique, but the ice that formed the walls of the sphere was just too thick to succumb easily to her claws. She fired a psybeam at the ice, but much of the psychic-type energy dissipated against the frozen barrier, while the rest just passed inconsequentially through it—psybeam was, after all, a technique that was more mentally harmful than physically destructive.

Panicking, the golduck desperately tried again to claw her way out of the icy sphere, tearing savagely with all her might. The ice was finally starting to truly give way to her efforts, but not by much.

Meanwhile… there was only so much fresh air in that frozen prison, and Kelly was spending her oxygen quite swiftly through her struggles to free herself. Thus it was that in fairly short order, the golduck exhausted herself thoroughly and passed out. Seeing that Kelly was out cold, Solonn evaporated the ice bubble that surrounded her, then slowly dissipated the pillar of frozen water on which it had stood, gently lowering the unconscious water-type down to the stage below.

A loud buzzer sounded, and a large, red “X” appeared over Kelly’s picture on the scoreboard, signifying that the golduck had been rendered unable to continue. Solonn had won the final round—and just in time, too. The clock had nearly run out for the match, and despite the loss of points that Kelly had suffered when her own attack had been turned against her, Solonn’s score had still been lower. If Kelly had not fainted before the timer could hit zero, she would have won.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” the announcer said in an exuberant voice. “Please give a great, big, hearty round of applause for the winners of the Lilycove normal rank beauty contest, Morgan Yorke and Solonn!”

The lights in the auditorium blazed into vibrant colors, and showers of confetti began falling from the ceiling. A great surge of noise rose up from the audience, many of whom stood as they applauded and cheered.

A shriek of delight sounded behind Solonn. Its source then tackled him in a joyous semi-embrace; Morgan seemed not to be fazed by the fact that her arms barely encircled him at all, such was her determination to heartily hug her pokémon partner.

After recalling Kelly, Alex rushed across the stage to shake her opponent’s hand, wearing an impressed look on her face. A moment later, the short, mustached head judge approached Solonn and the two coordinators. Solonn watched as the head judge handed the normal rank beauty ribbon to Morgan.

Good, the glalie thought as he gratefully allowed his weary body to settle down upon the floor, good. One down, three to go…


Next time: A visitor to the Yorke household may bring unexpected consequences, particularly where the resident glalie is concerned. See you then!

- Sike Saner

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Last edited by Sike Saner; 10-18-2011 at 09:51 PM. Reason: Revisions.
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